Cycling is secret to health and happiness; former Hastings District nurse celebrates her 100th birthday

Marjorie Neaves, surrounded by her family, at her 100th birthday party SUS-190304-091933001
Marjorie Neaves, surrounded by her family, at her 100th birthday party SUS-190304-091933001

A former Hastings District Nurse has celebrated her 100th birthday .

Marjorie Neaves (nee Treverton) was born in Greenwich, East London on March 22, 1919.

District Nurse Marjorie Neaves, who celebrated her 100th birthday on March 22, 2019 SUS-190304-091347001

District Nurse Marjorie Neaves, who celebrated her 100th birthday on March 22, 2019 SUS-190304-091347001

When she was two years old her mother, a single parent, died.

As an orphan, Marjorie was placed in a children’s home in Sidcup, Kent.

Her daughter Lesley Weaver says her mum was well looked after. “It was a very happy life in the orphanage,” she said.

“Mum left in her young teenage years and moved to Bexhill but always kept in touch with her ‘house mother’ and orphan family.”

It was while working as a head parlour maid at Collington Rise Boys school, Bexhill that Marjorie met future husband, Stan Neaves. And at the onset of World War II she volunteered for the Red Cross.

Lesley said: “Mum was engaged to my late father, a native of Hastings and St Leonards, before he left for the war.

“She was quite alone during those early war days of heavy bombing with no family of her own for support.

“Her fiancée’s family and her workplace evacuated from the coastal bombing at that time.

“However, she was selected for nursing training from the Red Cross and spent the rest of the war at Mile End hospital in London where she qualified as a State Registered Nurse.”

Throughout the war Marjorie and Stan wrote to each other regularly but were not to see each other again for four years.

Their love stood the test of time and at the end of the war Stan returned and met Marjorie as she finished a night shift. It was 1945, and Stan had just two weeks embarkation leave.

The happy couple wasted no time and their wedding was planned.

With one Aunt making a wedding dress and another making the cake, they were all set to tie the knot at Hollington Church in the Wood, Hastings.

Lesley, who now lives in Chiswick, said her parents settled down and started a family, adding: “Mum’s significant years in Hastings was to, not only raise her five children but she also worked as a District Nurse in the late 1950’s when the newly founded National Health Service was in need of qualified nurses.

“She will relate how she cycled around Hastings and St Leonards making home health visits to patients.

“Being a working parent was unusual for married women in those days.”

In addition to their five children Stan and Marjorie’s family has expanded and, to date, includes seven grand children and eight great grandchildren. Sadly, Stan died when he was 60.

Lesley said: “People have been asking Marjorie what the secret is to her obvious health and happiness to this grand age, ‘I never passed passed my driving test’, she replies. Meaning she would cycle everywhere, not just for district nursing. And ‘I am 100 before the Queen!’, she comments with pride.”