Real Lives

101 year-old hails the power of a granny nap

A Basildon resident celebrating her 101st birthday credited regular afternoon naps and a love of gardening for a long and happy life.

Dorothy Violet Davis, who lives at Larchwood Care’s Cameron House care home in Basildon, celebrated her birthday in style with her son Roger, the Deputy Mayor of Basildon, Cllr Yetunde Adeshile, other residents and her favourite entertainer Charlie Regan who serenaded her with his covers of 60s, 70s and 80s hits. Following the performance and the cutting of a 101 cake, Dorothy and the rest of the guests enjoyed a buffet of her favourite food.

Born Dorothy Wilson, in Walthamstow in 1923, the 101 year-old has lived through an incredibly transformative century. Her husband, John – whom she called Jack – and their son, Roger, have been the anchors of her life, and Dorothy’s eyes light up when she talks about her four grandchildren – Amber, Joe, Mia, and Isla.

When asked about the secret to her longevity, Dorothy attributed it to simple pleasures – sleeping whenever she wanted, indulging in afternoon naps, and nurturing her love for gardening during her earlier years at home. Her face glowed with memories as she shared anecdotes about meeting Jack outside a fish and chip shop, a quaint beginning to a lifetime of love and more than 70 years of marriage. When questioned about the key to a happy marriage, Dorothy’s advice was straightforward yet profound – “Take each day as it comes.”

With a chuckle, she recalled her early working days, starting at 14, painting toy soldiers. A job she didn’t keep for long; the smell of the paint led her to pivot to an engineer company, shaping the professional side of her life.

As Dorothy reflects on the significant life advice she would offer to today’s youth, she imparts timeless wisdom: “Behave yourself and don’t get into trouble.”

Charly Cooper, manager at Cameron House, said: “It was fantastic to have everyone join us for Dorothy’s 101st birthday party here. The whole event was a celebration of Dorothy and the joy she’s brought to everyone who knows her, from boogying to her favourite songs, to enjoying her favourite bites and hearing all about her life and family.

“Dorothy’s advice to take each day as it comes is something we should all try and remember in these busy times. I hope that if I get to 101, I will have lived such an amazing and happy life.”

Deputy Mayor Cllr Yetunde Adeshile, said: “Dorothy is a true gem, and her zest for life is inspiring. Her love for afternoon naps and gardening embodies the simple joys that often get overlooked in our fast-paced lives nowadays. In a world filled with complexities, Dorothy’s wisdom to take each day as it comes is a timeless reminder for us all to look up from our screens and live in the moment. It’s an honour to join in celebrating her remarkable journey with her friends and family at Cameron House.”


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