Champagne singalong to mark milestone birthday
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