Cham­pagne sin­ga­long to mark mile­stone birth­day

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Open For Business - By Ai­dan Bar­low

A for­mer small­hold­ing farmer and de­vout church­goer marked her 100th birth­day sur­rounded by her fam­ily at a care home.

Aileen Hor­ton re­ceived lov­ing gifts from her grand­chil­dren and great grand­chil­dren and cel­e­brated with cake and cham­pagne at the Brabourne Care Cen­tre in Hythe Road, Ash­ford on Mon­day this week.

She was joined by her lat­est great grand­child Joshua and sang all her favourite old songs from yes­ter­year. She re­ceived a card from the Queen and a letter from Work and Pen­sions Sec­re­tary and Ash­ford MP Damian Green.

Born in Wey­mouth as Aileen Fo­ord in Dorset on Fe­bru­ary 13, 1917, she moved as a lit­tle girl to the Three Bells pub­lic house at Swing­field near Dover, where she would grow up with her par­ents who ran the pub for more than 50 years.

As a girl she at­tended Folke­stone Girls Gram­mar School be­fore work­ing as a comp­tometrist at the Ash­ford rail­way works be­tween the wars.

She mar­ried Wil­liam “Jack” Hor­ton in July 1939, just months be­fore the out­break of the Sec­ond World War, where he was to serve in 29th Com­mando Reg­i­ment of the Royal Ar­tillery.

To­gether they had two chil­dren, David and John, who she re­called push­ing in a pram and watch­ing the dog­fights over the skies of the Three Bells in 1940.

In 1953 they moved to their own small­hold­ing at Swan­bourne Cot­tage in the Alkham Val­ley near Wolver­ton Hill. There they kept pigs and made a liv­ing by sell­ing soft fruits and veg­eta­bles.

Wil­liam worked for Dun­ford Nurs­eries at River and then as head park keeper at Con­naught Park for Dover District Coun­cil. In 1993 they moved to Ash­ford to be near to their fam­ily, and a year later Wil­liam died.

Sur­viv­ing son David Hor­ton said: “Mum had a mar­vel­lous day, she is able to recog­nise her fam­ily and all the old songs which she was still singing along to .

“She worked on the land for all her life and is pretty tough and ro­bust. She may be 100 years old but she has a good few birth­days in her yet.

“She has al­ways been a keen church­goer and stal­wart of the WI in her younger years. Her faith has been an im­por­tant part of her life.”

Aileen Hor­ton cel­e­brates her hun­dredth birth­day with fam­ily at the Brabourne Care Cen­tre. She also re­ceived a card from the Queen and a letter from Damian Green MP

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