Gosport birthday girl Doris unveils her secrets to reaching 100 years old

Doris Huzinga celebrated her 100th birthday at Canford Manor in Lee-on-the-Solent, on Thursday, October 31. Picture: Sarah Standing (311019-792)
Doris Huzinga celebrated her 100th birthday at Canford Manor in Lee-on-the-Solent, on Thursday, October 31. Picture: Sarah Standing (311019-792)
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‘I think having a good sense of humour and being able to laugh at life gets you through,’ says Gosport birthday girl Doris Huzinga at her 100th birthday party.

‘There’s no point being a misery.’ 

Doris Huzinga, front middle, with her family, from left, niece-in-law Carol Hellyer, great-nephew Craig Hellyer, and nephew Kevin Hellyer, with sister-in-law Shirley Hellyer, front left, and niece Nicky Hellyer. Picture: Sarah Standing (311019-761)

Doris Huzinga, front middle, with her family, from left, niece-in-law Carol Hellyer, great-nephew Craig Hellyer, and nephew Kevin Hellyer, with sister-in-law Shirley Hellyer, front left, and niece Nicky Hellyer. Picture: Sarah Standing (311019-761)

Born on October 31, 1919, Doris grew up with her parents Emily and Charles Hellyer and was the eldest of her six siblings. 

Doris met her first husband, Petty Officer Charles Rutter, when she was 18 years old and was invited to a dance. 

‘My mum was babysitting for our neighbours and a couple of them were going to a dance,’ explains Doris.  

‘They invited me and I had to go and ask my father if I could go. He said yes but I had to be home by 11pm. 

Doris Huzinga with Laraine and Pete Rodd who were Doris's neighbours when she lived in White Hart Lane, Portchester, 50 years ago. Picture: Sarah Standing (311019-781)

Doris Huzinga with Laraine and Pete Rodd who were Doris's neighbours when she lived in White Hart Lane, Portchester, 50 years ago. Picture: Sarah Standing (311019-781)

‘I got dressed and went. Charles came up to me and asked if he could dance with me. I said yes and we glided onto the dance floor. 

She smiles and says: ‘We didn’t stop talking. I knew then that he was the man I was going to marry – and I think he knew that too. 

The couple married in 1942 at Portsmouth Registry Office. 

Doris says: ‘We were married and within a couple of days he was called up in the navy for the Second World War. I never saw him again.’  

On March 30, 1944, PO Rutter was sadly killed in action onboard HMS Laforey. They were together for five-and-a-half years. 

A couple of years later, Doris married cabinet-maker Bert Huzinga. The couple moved to Portchester in 1954. Doris worked for Metal Box factory in Portsmouth for eight years and retired when she was 60.

Bert died in 1992 but Doris lived independently in Portchester until she 98 years old, which was when she decided to move into a care home in November 2018 and then to Canford Manor, Gosport, in April 2019. 

In recent years, she has become a member of the sisterhood of the Methodist Church in Portchester where she has made some lovely friends some of which were at her birthday party.

Doris’ sister-in-law Shirley Hellyer says: ‘We’re very proud of her. 

‘She still loves Strictly Come Dancing – especially Anton. 

‘She’s always loved music and dancing, she loves dancing to her cassettes.’ 

With her birthday card from the Queen is in her hands, Doris adds: ‘Being 100 doesn’t feel very different.

She smiles, looks around at her family and friends and says: ‘I’m amazed everyone is here.’