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Olive marks century

PUBLISHED: 10:47 08 October 2009 | UPDATED: 11:06 23 August 2010

A FORMER member of the Women s Land Army during World War II has celebrated her 100th birthday. Olive Beckham, a resident at Deneholm Care home in Deneholm Road, Northfleet, reached the milestone on Sunday. Miss Beckham, who never married and had no ch

A FORMER member of the Women's Land Army during World War II has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Olive Beckham, a resident at Deneholm Care home in Deneholm Road, Northfleet, reached the milestone on Sunday.

Miss Beckham, who never married and had no children, received a card from the Queen and was presented with flowers from the Mayor of Gravesham Bronwen McGarrity.

She also had a small celebration at the South Street Baptist Church in Meopham where she is a member.

Close friend Arthur Vamplew, who has known Olive since 1991, said: "She is gracious, always grateful to people and appreciates people for what they do.

"She enjoyed the day and the Mayor said she appeared bright when she spoke to her.

"When her friends came to see her, some who came from south London where she lived for a while, they were all sharing photographs, stories and memories and Olive came alive, which was great to see."

Born in 1909 in Acton in west London, her mother placed Olive in an orphanage in Ipswich because she was not able to look after her.

She attended Clifford Road School in Ipswich until she was 15-years-old, when she became a housekeeper. She attended church regularly and joined the Christian Alliance Women's and Girls club.

When World War II broke out, Olive joined the Women's Land Army working on a farm, helping with the war effort when the men were called up to the military.

She moved to South London after the war, and by 1956, became a member of the Selhurst Evangelical Church.

She supported Christian charity's, including the London City Mission, and continued her work as a housekeeper.

She finally moved to north Kent in the mid 1990s where she became a member of South Street Baptist Church which she visits nearly every week.

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