In a new occasional series, KATE POWELL, Alton’s Anna Chaplain for Older People, gets to know its older community, their colourful stories and their attitudes to life. Here, Kate speaks to Doris Blow.
How old are you and how long have you lived in Alton?
I turn 104 on November 25 and have lived here for 18 years.
What made you choose to retire to Alton?
I lived in Lowestoft and thought since I was reaching my late 80s, I should move closer to family. The biggest difference I noticed was how much hillier Hampshire is to Suffolk.
What do you like most about Alton?
It is a very friendly little town. Someone always says hello to me whenever I wander through the town. I am lucky to live centrally so I can access the park, the shops and all the various groups and activities on offer. I have been very happy here.
Tell me a little bit about your favourite time in your life?
I have had a long life so am not sure which favourite time to choose. However, because of the Queen’s death, I have recently been thinking about the years I spent living in London while my husband served in the Grenadier Guards.
I had many encounters with the royal family during that time, which seemed quite normal then – but I now realise how special it was. Although the Queen was still a princess at the time, I met her on numerous occasions.
I particularly remember having tea with her once and she ruffled my son’s curly hair, saying: “How I wish my son had hair like this!” And now it makes me smile to think she was referring to King Charles.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
Well it depends how much longer my future is. I am already 104 but remain healthy so my greatest hope is to stay this way so I can continue to live independently.
As for dreams, I would have loved to have done a parachute jump for my 100th birthday but my son wouldn’t let me. While I respect his concerns, jumping out of an aeroplane remains a dream, so you never know – as the saying goes, it’s never too late.
For further information on the Anna Chaplaincy, call Kate Powell on 07539 026546.