Very few people make it to their 100th birthday, and those that do tend to live out their golden years in a care home.
But Marie Rowley has marked her big day in her own home – making her one of Mansfield District Council’s oldest tenants who is still living independently.
The oldest resident at Poppy Fields Extra Care sheltered housing complex, Marie celebrated reaching her centenary with a surprise party on January 17, attended by family, friends, councillors and neighbours at the Poppy Fields Community Hub, close to her two-bedroom bungalow.
Still able to do much of her own personal care and cook light meals, she gets about with the help of a wheeled frame and is a regular at the facility’s lunch club.
Apart from receiving support from carers and wearing an alarm call pendant, Marie lives an independent life and is in fairly good health, having already survived a brain haemorrhage, cerebral encephalitis and breast cancer.
She spends her days reading, watching TV and has had a life-long interest in poetry which she continues to write in a meticulously neat capital script and recites with a fluent gusto.
Speaking about her secret to a long life, Marie said: “Don’t over do things, take things slowly – don’t rush things, you are not missing anything.
“I have not done anything really very exciting in my life. I just live day to day and take what comes.
“I put up with what I don’t like and enjoy what I do like.”
Marie grew up in Clipstone and Forest Town and has also lived in Annesley Woodhouse and Kirkby.
She worked as a ledger clerk for ten years with the National Coal Board in Bestwood. Before that she was a shop assistant at the Co-op and a bus conductor with Trent buses in Hucknall.
She was married three times and has two sons, one grandchild and a great grandchild.During her third marriage, which lasted several decades, she and her husband, George Rowley, developed an interest in dog showing.
A few years after George’s sudden death at 67, love continued to blossom for Marie, explained her son, Tony Thompson, 71, of Croxton Kerrial, near Grantham.
“A few years before the start of the Second World War, my mother was seeing a young lad called Eddie Iball. They were in love and planned to marry. However it was not to be and Eddie joined the RAF, went off to war and they lost touch.
“In her 70s, my mother had a chance meeting with her long lost love, Eddie, and they started seeing each other and going out again. They moved into together and had quite a few good years together until sadly Eddie died of a heart condition.
“My mother has soldiered on through life and has outlived the majority of her friends and relatives, reaching that magical 100 years.
“I am sure she will continue for several more.”
Sharon Mays, a Mansfield District Council assist response officer, who supports the pensioner at Poppy Fields, said: “Marie is an amazing lady – it is really unusual for someone to be living independently at such an age but she manages very well and is quite a character here at Poppy Fields.
“Older people prefer to be in their own homes and places like Poppy Fields enable this to happen.”
Councillor Barry Answer, portfolio holder for housing, who attended Marie’s party, said: “What a lady!
“And isn’t it fantastic that with the right support in place that she is able to stay living in her own home. This is exactly what this kind of sheltered housing aims to achieve.”
Pictured, top, from left, are Councillor Barry Answer, Marie Rowley holding her card from the Queen, and Councillor Kevin Brown. Above, Marie with Sharon Mays.