A PERSHORE woman has been hailed as ‘an inspiration to all’ after she celebrated her 108th birthday.
Joan Trench, a former Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRENS) volunteer, marked the grand age of 108 with a joyous celebration at the town’s Heathlands Residential Care Home last Friday (October 16), with friends and family.
The great grandmother – who is believed to be one of the oldest people in the county – has lived at the Sanctuary Care home for six years, after an adventurous life joining the navy, living in Spain through the Spanish Civil War and playing her part in Britain’s war effort.
Born in Wolverhampton as the youngest of eight siblings, Joan moved to Spain where she taught English and married John Trench in 1934, just before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, which she vividly remembers.
Her late husband John was the manager of Barclays bank in Pershore and their only daughter, Oonagh Stephens said she was incredibly proud she was of her mother reaching another milestone in her animated life.
During the Second World War Joan was based at HMS Duke, a training establishment in Malvern, where she stayed up through the night to send teams out to repair Mulberry Harbour, a giant floating artificial dockyard which was credited as being one of the greatest engineering feats of the war.
On reaching such a grand age, Joan said: “I put it down to a very happy life, some very special friends and a drink of whiskey now and again.
“I’ve been very lucky in life given the number of accidents I’ve had.
“When I was with the WRENS a bomb came flying down and blew everything up right in front of me. I was thrown up into the air and when I woke up I still had my hat on and was wondering around in a daze.
“I’ve been very fortunate and had a happy life with a mother who I adored, four brothers and three sisters who I learnt so much from, and a daughter who has done so much for me especially over the last twenty years.
“I made the decision six years ago to move into Heathlands, a decision that I have never regretted as the staff are like an extended family being so kind and caring, and their encouragement on occasions has been much appreciated.”
Heathlands manager Netty Matthews said: “Joan is truly an inspiration to us all at Heathlands. She never ceases to amaze us and we are delighted to have her here with us.”