Bessie has 100th birthday bash

PUBLISHED: 16:53 19 October 2006 | UPDATED: 09:56 31 May 2010

Bessie Head pictured with her daughter Sheila Thomas - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

Bessie Head pictured with her daughter Sheila Thomas - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

ONE hundred years of happiness were celebrated by a Great Chesterford woman on Monday. Bessie Head, who lives in London Road, was surrounded by family and friends as she enjoyed her 100th birthday party. The former Post Office worker and Scrabble champ ha

ONE hundred years of happiness were celebrated by a Great Chesterford woman on Monday.

Bessie Head, who lives in London Road, was surrounded by family and friends as she enjoyed her 100th birthday party.

The former Post Office worker and Scrabble champ has been living in her house since 1934, when she moved to the area from London.

Born in Inverness in 1906, Bessie left school to become a Morse code telegraphist and has fond memories of working in branches of the Post Office in remote parts of the Scottish Highlands.

Her 74-year-old daughter, Sheila Thomas, said that Bessie's day had been hugely enjoyable for everyone who was there.

She said: "Bessie absolutely enjoyed every minute of the day.

She was stimulated and really came to life, especially when talking about Scotland!

"We had an open house for the day and there was a constant flow of people coming in to chat to her and celebrate her birthday."

Bessie is a self-taught pianist and was closely involved with life in Great Chesterford, particularly the Women's Institute.

Mrs Thomas, who lives in Littlebury, said: "For many years Bessie was a strong supporter of the WI and was always available to play the piano for their anthem."

As well as excelling on the piano, Bessie was a force to be reckoned with when playing Scrabble, and her proficiency at the game became "legendary" at the over-60s club in the village.

Being socially and physically active may have helped Bessie live such a long and happy life, and even now she is often with friends and family.

Mrs Thomas said: "Bessie really enjoys other people's company, and although she doesn't do a lot and spends a lot of time sleeping, she's in very good health."

Bessie was a keen tennis player in her younger years and spent some time working as a children's nanny.

Bessie's husband Charles died in 1992. She has three children, nine grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Mrs Thomas said: "She had many visitors and greetings over the weekend, including her grandson and family in Australia and a video-taped greeting from relatives in Sussex.

"She was delighted with her greetings message from the Queen.

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