Photograph by: Alex Hammonds.

Mrs Florence Tomlinson, who has lived in Rose Hill for sixty-seven years, recently celebrated her one-hundredth birthday surrounded by friends and family.

She spoke of her joy at receiving a card from the Queen: “I can’t believe it, I feel very excited for the people around me, they’ve been waiting for it, I held it up and they all clapped because when you’re at my age, you never know if you’re going to reach it.”

Her daughter Helen, who lives in Oregon in the US said: “I’m not quite surprised, she’s resilient, and she recovers from everything, from it all!”

Florence surrounded by family on her birthday. Photo by Alex Hammonds.

Having been born originally in South Shields during World War I, Florence told the story of her birth: “A German airship came over and when they brought it down, all of the excitement brought it on, the Doctor came in and took off his coat and bag and said I wouldn’t survive the night; so you do get a laugh out of that!”

Florence, who moved into Alice and Margaret house seven years ago, spoke of the first time she acquired a house in Rose Hill: “I was cycling down to the allotment to get a cabbage, and I saw a house down there, I turned around, went to the Town Hall and two weeks later we had the key to 42 Lenthall Rd! And it was fabulous.”

Florence telling me all about her life. Photograph by Alex Hammonds

“My husband had an allotment for 42 years” said Florence: “I loved the allotment, we never bought vegetables or fruit and my favourite thing to grow was rhubarb, we always made rhubarb crumble with lovely custard.” Florence also spoke about her other love of dancing: “I used to love dancing, I won second prize for the quick-step once, and went twice a week, those were the good times.”

When reflecting back on her life in full, Florence said: “I made it my business to have a full life and not mope about, it’s been an experience, a great experience, I haven’t done much but what I have is what I’ve wanted.”

Many congratulations to Florence!

All photo’s below by: Alex Hammonds

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To Florence’s family: Please email if you want me to send these photo’s along to you!


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