Leighton Buzzard centenarian celebrates 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends

A Leighton Buzzard woman celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends.

By Jo Robinson
Tuesday, 28th June 2022, 12:46 pm

Centenarian Joan Spencer reached her special milestone on June 16, and received a birthday card from Her Majesty the Queen.

Her nearest and dearest travelled from far and wide to see her – with all nine great-grandchildren paying a visit.

Joan told the LBO: "It went extremely well and I was thoroughly spoilt. I had a sort of 'open day' on the Thursday and Friday, with friends popping in to see me and on the Saturday I had all my family and nine great grandchildren.

Joan Spencer celebrates her 100th birthday.

"I had two lovely birthday cards and my grandson had got me a signed photo from The Red Arrows. They couldn't do a fly past so they sent me the photo, which was lovely, and of course I had a card from the Queen.”

Joan added: "I had a call from my local MP, Andrew Selous, as I have known Andrew over the years, and I also had a very special visit from someone I had got on very well with over the years. I also had a friend and old neighbour come over from Norway to see me!

"I had a lovely, lovely time with lots and lots of cards and flowers. My house was like a florist shop."

Joan was born in Leighton Buzzard in Stanbridge Road on June 16, 1922, and before the war she worked at Cotsmoor coat factory on the corner of Grovebury Road and Billington Road.

She then went to work at RAF Stanbridge in the Post Office Engineering Department, "working days, evenings and nights", and after the war ended she went to work for the Post Office as a telephonist.

Meanwhile, her family were well known in the town, as her father, Walter Ebenezer Collett, used to run W. E. Collett and Son, a plumbing and heating business on Hockliffe Street.

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Joan said: "I have had a busy life, really. I was very happy in Leighton Buzzard. It was a lovely, friendly market town and as you walked down the High Street everybody said hello to everybody. We used to love going dancing at the Corn Exchange and the Old Vic."

Growing up, Joan attended Mary Bassett school, and recalls its headmistress, Miss Hiley, being very strict, while she was fond of her class teacher, Mrs Muskett (nee Emery).

Joan said: "I was pleased with what they taught us. Good manners, and how to behave and be polite to people."

Joan married Eric Spencer at All Saints Church on November 17, 1951, and the couple went on to have two children, four grandchildren, and nine great grandchildren.

Eric died seven years ago, but Joan fondly remembers their busy social life.

She said: "I belonged to the Inner Wheel (the ladies side of the Rotary) and used to do some money making. It's a worldwide organisation. My husband was in the Rotary Club and we also joined the Bedfordshire Caravan Centre."

Joan would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who sent her cards, gifts, and well wishes, and to everyone who travelled to see her and celebrate.