Portsmouth's Eunice Forhead celebrates 108th birthday

Still as glamorous and eloquent as ever, Eunice Forhead is still living independently at home and only ‘reluctantly’ getting assistance from her carers.

By Hollie Busby
Thursday, 17th February 2022, 8:01 pm

And now, on reaching another milestone birthday, she laughs and said: ‘I’m a bit excited over it. I can’t believe it really.

‘I must be one of the oldest people in Portsmouth! ’

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Eunice Forhead, born in Portsea is celebrating her 108th birthday. Pictured: Eunice Forhead at her home holding a picture of her father on Wednesday 12 January 2022. Photo: Habibur Rahman.

Today, Eunice will be joined by family for a tea party which daughter-in-law Carylin Forhead says she will treat ‘like an open house.’

‘She doesn’t drink but she’ll have a bottle of Champagne on her birthday,’ she said.

Eunice added: ‘I expect I’ll have a Baileys.

‘I like a Baileys but only on special occasions.

Eunice Forhead, born in Portsea is celebrating her 108th birthday Pictured: Copy picture of Eunice Forhead s father.

‘I just fancy things in moderation. I can always laugh on a glass of water.’

Eunice echoes her mental strength. She always gets on with life and has a positive outlook on the mundane – even on a dark and gloomy day.

Born Eunice Good at Elwood Street, Portsea on January 13, 1914, she’s lived in Portsmouth her whole life.

She’s the granddaughter of Sabatino and Esther Pitassi – the founders of S Pitassi ice cream parlour in Edinburgh Road, Landport, Portsmouth.

Eunice Forhead, born in Portsea is celebrating her 108th birthday. Pictured: Copy picture of Eunice Forhead and her late husband, Edwin Forhead.

It’s since been taken over for machinery purposes, but the parlour was once thriving. Eunice’s grandparents even served King Edward VII.

Eunice was born to parents Rose and George Good who had three other children – Eunice was the oldest.

At 14 Eunice left school to start her working life as an apprentice at WB Corsets, Southsea, and stayed there for 10 years until she met her husband Edwin Forhead.

Originally from Surrey, Edwin worked at Airspeed’s base at Hilsea with one of Eunice’s uncles who introduced them to each other.

Eunice Forhead, born in Portsea is celebrating her 108th birthday. Pictured: Eunice Forhead at her home in Portsea, Portsmouth on Wednesday 12 January 2022. Picture: Habibur Rahman.

Eunice said: ‘We went on a coach trip soon after because in those days the coach used to go to a pub in the country.

‘I went on this outing and my husband got behind me and pushed me into a seat in the coach and that's how I met him.’

The couple went on to get engaged and tied the knot at St John’s RC Cathedral, Portsmouth, in 1938.

Eunice fell pregnant with their only son Richard during the Second World War, while Edwin split his time between the Home Guard and continuing to work at Airspeed.

‘My husband wanted me to leave Portsmouth because of the bombing but I wouldn't go,’ she says.

‘I stayed in Portsmouth for the whole time it was bombing.

‘A lot of people used to go over the hill at night and stayed over the hill but I never did that.

‘We used to sleep under the stairs when the bombing was bad because we were told that was the safest place.’

Edwin died in 1990 but Eunice says they had a ‘very happy marriage of 50 years and never rowed’.

In July 2021, Eunice’s grandson Anthony, who she ‘loved to bits’, died aged 50 and she’s since been a lot less agile.

‘It’s knocked me over to be quite honest,’ says Eunice.

‘I don't go out of the house on my own now. My legs are not very good at the moment. I go out if somebody takes me in a car. I can't expect anything else can I?’

‘I'm quite happy to be in my own home, in my own armchair.’

Carylin puts down her mother-in-law’s longevity to staying optimistic.

‘She was used to a better life. But she doesn't complain. She never says 'poor me' or anything like that.’

Eunice’s secret to reaching 108 is to never be miserable because ‘people won’t like you if you’re a misery’.