Feisty Doris says turning 100 feels just wonderful

SPECIAL DAY: Doris Durham celebrating her 100th birthday at St Mary’s Hostel where she was given the royal treatment.
SPECIAL DAY: Doris Durham celebrating her 100th birthday at St Mary’s Hostel where she was given the royal treatment. Claudia Baxter

DORIS Durham's birth certificate says she's 100 but all other evidence is to the contrary.

Born Doris Brooke in Yorkshire on June 19, 1914, Mrs Durham was thrown a party yesterday at St Mary's Hostel in Raceview.

"I don't think I realised I was 100 until today," she said with a girlish laugh.

What did she think of all the fuss people were making?

"It's wonderful," she said although earlier she whispered mock-seriously to a friend: "I never wanted this.

"In 100 years I've never had as many photos as I've had today."

Asked how old she felt, she playfully warned: "I'll swear".

"Can I swear?" she asked gleefully. She paused for effect then said: "B old" and laughed.

"I feel really good. I'll tell you something now; if I hadn't been here I don't think I would have made 100."

Is there something she's done to keep herself healthy?

"Not really. I've worked hard, I've had a good life, I had a good husband and had three wonderful sons; sad I've only got one left now," she said. "But it's been an absolutely wonderful day.

"You wonder if you'd do the same; you look back you know but on the whole I've had a happy life.

"Somebody said to me: How come you've lived so long? I said it must have been all the Yorkshire Pudding when I was a kid."

Grandson Gavin Durham said after Doris' father Asa was killed in France during the First World War, she was brought up by her mother and aunts and left school at 14 to work in the woollen mills.

She married Frank Durham on November 3, 1933, and they had sons Frank, Peter and Michael.

Doris' husband served in the Royal Air Force as a tail gunner and flew missions over Europe during the Second World War.

In 1952, they emigrated to Australia and settled down to raise their family in Adelaide.

Doris worked for 21 years in the canteen at the South Australian Weapons Research Centre.

"When my husband finished in the war he was a plasterer and there was a lot of bad weather in Yorkshire and so that's why we decided to come here," Doris said.

"We came out on a boat called the Ranchi. We broke down once and we had a fire; it took us seven weeks to get here. My husband had that much work when we came."

After Frank became ill and died she moved up to Queensland with son Frank in the mid-to-late 1980s.

Topics:  100th birthday

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