"Wonderful" Dartford woman turns 100
PUBLISHED: 12:28 29 October 2015 | UPDATED: 13:18 29 October 2015
Edna Soerewijn turned 100 last weekend
When Edna Soerewijn was born the First World War was raging across Europe and the shock of the sinking of the Titanic, just three years earlier, was still fresh in the mind.
The internet was not even a glint in the most ambitious minded scientists eye (they were still getting to grips with the new fangled telephone) and televisions were unheard of.
But this weekend Mrs Soerewijn, of Wentworth Driver, Dartford, celebrated a life which has seen remarkable change with her 100th birthday.
Born on October 24, 1915, she marked her achievement surrounded by family and friends at her home.
Great-great grandmother Mrs Soerewijn, who grew up in west London, was even given a surprise when David Randall, her only child, flew in from his home in Northern Ireland to attend the celebrations.
A delighted Mr Randall said: “My mother is still quite independent, even at 100 she’s still alert and doesn’t miss a thing around her.
“She’s a marvellous lady and has worked hard throughout her life, she always did her best by me as I was growing up. She’s a wonderful mother.”
During the Second World War Mrs Soerewijn worked in a factory making bolts for landing boats, while her sister worked as an air raid warden.
In her younger years, Mrs Soerewijn was active in rowing, winning trophies with the Barnes Bridge Rowing Club, as well as having a passion for cycling. The key, perhaps, to her long life.
After moving to Dartford 35 years ago, Mrs Soerewijn played an active part at the local Age Concern, and even joined a local dance group in her seventies. Mr Randall said: “My mother had to work hard through her life, and she always did so without a complaint.
“But even now she’s a very social person and makes friends easily.”
Mrs Soerewijn joined the Bexley School of Dancing aged 75 where she practiced ballroom dancing for 15 years, before she left at the tender age of 90 years young.
Five generations of Mrs Soerewijn’s family attended the birthday celebrations - more than 60 in all.
During her long life, she has seen 17 different prime ministers and been ruled over by five kings and queens - starting with Edward VII, then George V, Edward VIII, George VI and, now Elizabeth II.