RE­MEM­BER­ING A LOST GEN­ER­A­TION

ARMISTICE DAY: 100 YEARS

South Wales Echo - - Front Page - BEN MITCHELL Re­porter echo.news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

A WOMAN whose mid­dle name is Armistice is cel­e­brat­ing her 100th birth­day on the cen­te­nary of the end of the First World War.

Hun­dreds of well-wish­ers have sent cards to Dilys Armistice Fox af­ter staff at her Sal­va­tion Army care home were con­cerned that her birth­day would go un­marked be­cause she only has two el­derly rel­a­tives.

Mrs Fox, from Bar­goed, was born on Novem­ber 11, 1918.

The same his­toric day her­alded the long-awaited end of World War One, with fight­ing of­fi­cially end­ing at 11am.

Now, a cen­tury later, Mrs Fox says she has been over­whelmed by the hun­dreds of cards she has re­ceived ahead of her birth­day, adding: “I didn’t ex­pect any of this.”

Re­fer­ring to her un­usual mid­dle name, she said: “I didn’t take much no­tice of it, to tell you the truth, un­til a few years ago when it dawned on me. It’s just a name to me.”

Af­ter grow­ing up in South Wales, Mrs Fox moved to Lon­don when she was 16 to be­come a chil­dren’s nanny.

She said the se­cret to her long life had been “in­de­pen­dence and hon­esty”.

“I am in­de­pen­dent, very in­de­pen­dent. I al­ways get up be­fore 6am and I make my own bed, get washed and dressed,” she said. “I also be­lieve in hon­esty, I am a very hon­est per­son.”

Mrs Fox said the great­est change in so­ci­ety in her life­time was the cre­ation of the NHS.

“I think it’s won­der­ful, it helps a lot of peo­ple. I know at the mo­ment it is hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ties but when it first started I al­ways said to my­self that’s one of the best things that could have hap­pened be­cause it helps or­di­nary peo­ple.”

She added that the best tech­no­log­i­cal innovation was the tele­vi­sion, which she first re­mem­bers from the Queen’s coro­na­tion.

She said: “No­body had a tele­vi­sion – we had to share it. I think it has changed the world as peo­ple can see things so quickly.”

She added that her best mem­o­ries were of her par­ents and her grand­mother.

Mrs Fox was a chil­dren’s nanny for all of her work­ing life and mar­ried Henry Fox, who vol­un­teered in the RAF dur­ing the Sec­ond World War and went on to be­come head gar­dener on the Wind­sor Great Park es­tate.

Re­call­ing go­ing to church along with the Queen at the es­tate’s church, she said: “I used to see her go past the house and you would bow your head in ac­knowl­edge­ment.”

De­spite her past en­coun­ters with the monarch, Mrs Fox is un­likely to get the tra­di­tional 100th birth­day card from the Queen as she was un­able to find her birth cer­tifi­cate in time to send to Buck­ing­ham Palace.

Af­ter her hus­band died from a heart at­tack at the age of 70, Mrs Fox moved to Tun­bridge Wells, be­fore go­ing into a lo­cal care home and then be­ing trans­ferred to the Sal­va­tion Army’s res­i­den­tial care home, Villa Adas­tra, in Has­socks, West Sus­sex, in 2013.

Head carer Sharon Ba­con said: “She is deal­ing with all the at­ten­tion re­ally well, she’s ab­so­lutely lov­ing it. We put out an ap­peal for birth­day cards be­cause we thought she wouldn’t get many cards as she only has two el­derly neph­ews. Now it’s gone a lit­tle bit crazy – we’ve re­ceived at least 500!”

The lo­cal com­mu­nity is also plan­ning to mark Mrs Fox’s birth­day to­mor­row by di­vert­ing its re­mem­brance pa­rade to the care home in or­der to sing Happy Birth­day to the cen­te­nar­ian.

STEVE PAR­SONS

Dilys Armistice Fox, from Caer­philly, is cel­e­brat­ing her 100th birth­day

100-year-old Dilys Armistice Fox re­ceives gifts and cards from lo­cal school chil­dren

Dilys work­ing as a nanny in her younger days

TOP­I­CAL PRESS AGENCY/GETTY IM­AGES

Crowds cel­e­brat­ing the sign­ing of the Armistice at the end of World War I

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