Havant's Lilian Ruff has danced her way to her 102nd birthday

Lilian Ruff celebrated her 102nd birthday on October 27 with her friends and family.

Monday, 4th November 2019, 12:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 10:11 am
Lilian Ruff celebrates her 102nd birthday at a party held at The Meridian Centre in Havant. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (271019-11)

Born in Portsmouth to Violet and George Bernard Goodall, Lilian was one of eight children. Her father was a publican and ran The Shipwrights Arms in Edinburgh Road, Portsmouth, and Lilian worked and performed in the pub.

‘Her father was a musician and travelled all over the world,’ says Lilian’s niece Valerie Andrews.

‘He made all of his children perform there, either singing or playing an instrument. But Lilian was the dancer.’

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Lilian with her friends and family at her birthday party. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (271019-10)

Throughout her life, one of Lilian’s greatest loves has been dancing. While her siblings played instruments, Lilian performed dance routines and in later life took a particular liking to country and western.

Lilian married three times and with her third husband, Bill Ruff, she attended country and western dancing sessions regularly. She has one son, Raymond.

Art and painting is another of Lilian’s lifelong passions. Armed with her acrylics, she created very ‘ornate pieces’ in her younger days.

‘She is a very keen painter. She used to use acrylics and create great artworks,’ explains Valerie.

Lilian with her third husband Bill Ruff. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (271019-8)

‘Now she uses felt tips and adult colouring books, but she still loves art. She likes to keep herself busy.’

Lilian now lives at Cross Way House, Havant, and celebrated her special birthday at the Boswells Cafe, at the Meridian Centre, with 30 guests. Valerie smiles and says: ‘It was a lovely party. A lot of people came over and wished her a happy birthday.

‘As she was leaving, she was being wheeled back to her home with her balloon bobbing behind her when someone got out of their car just to wish her a happy birthday.

‘She always wishes everyone a happy life because she says she has had a happy one.

Four generations with Lilian. From left: step-daughter Michelle Thompson, granddaughter Belinda Collins, great-granddaughter Jade Collins and great-great-granddaughter eight-year-old Maicey Collins. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (271019-7)

‘She loves having her family and friends around her.’

Lilian in her younger days.