'I just like to be bright and breezy', Harpenden woman celebrates 'wonderful' 100th birthday (From St Albans & Harpenden Review)
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Homedell House resident Florence Lovell celebrates 100th birthday
Keeping active and ballroom dancing is the key to keeping Florence Lovell young as she celebrated her 100th birthday at a Harpenden care home.
Mrs Lovell enjoyed a party thrown by her friends and family at Homedell House, in Roundwood Lane, on her birthday Monday, November 18.
Born in Islington, London, Mrs Lovell has lived in Sussex, Berkshire, Aylesbury and Lincolnshire for 15 years before she moved to Harpenden in 2004.
To mark the milestone, Mrs Lovell was joined by 85 guests including her daughter Judie, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, who toasted the celebrations with a slice of cake and glass of prosecco.
Mrs Lovell said: "It was wonderful.
"Everyone was admiring my dress. I had picked it especially and will probably wear it again for Christmas. My eldest grand-daughter loved it so much."
When asked her secret to staying young, the centenarian said: "I am always doing something. I don’t like to sit around and mope.
"A lot of people tell me I look young for my age. I just like to be bright and breezy.
"I also like to dance and I love to watch Strictly Come Dancing. I went on a lot of holidays to Jersey for ballroom dancing."
One of Mrs Lovell’s great passions is dancing and this is where she met the love of her life, John.
After a single dance in Caxton Hall London, John was insistent Florence was the girl for him.
Mrs Lovell explained: "After we danced, he went and told the girl he was with ‘I am going to marry that girl’ and she said ‘what do you mean? You don’t even know her’ and he said ‘oh yes I do, I danced with her and I do know that she is the girl for me."
A few years later the couple married in 1940 at a church in London before having their daughter, Judie, in 1943.
Most of her life, Mrs Lovell worked in the shoe trade and she was a sales lady at Lilley & Skinner for 10 years. During World War Two, she worked on the telephone switchboards for the fire services.
The only girl of seven brothers, Mrs Lovell, said: "My dad used to sing to me ‘you are the only girl in the world.’"
Mr Lovell died in 2004, at the age of 93, and this is when Mrs Lovell moved to Harpenden to be closer to her daughter.
Judie Hedges said: "It was absolutely brilliant. I could not have asked for anything better.
"When she walked in, we all sang congratulations to her, to which she waved to her public and then did a little speech.
"She was like royalty. She thought it was wonderful."
When asked what kept her mother young, Mrs Hedges replied: "She has worked very hard. I think it is being from that generation - they seem to have that little something extra.
"It wasn’t an easy life and I think to begin with they were struggling. She made her own at the age of 17.
"She is doing brilliantly and stood chatting to everyone at her birthday. She can still touch her toes, which puts me to shame."
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