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Centenarian celebrating 103rd birthday lays wreath in Kingsclere for VE Day



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It was a very special birthday for Kingsclere centenarian Cissie Edward, as she laid a wreath at the village war memorial to commemorate VE Day, on the same day she turned 103.

Mrs Edward was born on May 8, 1919, meaning it was her 103rd birthday on Sunday as Europe remembered the day Nazi Germany signed a surrender declaration, marking the end of the war in the continent.

The centenarian recalls VE Day well.

103-year-old Cissie Edward laying a wreath for VE day with daughters Mary Sanger and Ann Howe
103-year-old Cissie Edward laying a wreath for VE day with daughters Mary Sanger and Ann Howe

Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News, she described how she was a barmaid at a pub called The Crown – now known as the Lord Hill – in Bexleyheath in southeast London on the day the war in Europe came to an end.

She said: “I couldn’t get away because the pub was open that night until twelve o’clock.

“It was so very busy – everybody was over the moon.

There was a small gathering to commemorate the day
There was a small gathering to commemorate the day

“When I got home everybody was dancing on the green and danced around with me.”

One of Mrs Edward’s regulars was a man called Enrico Cameron Hancock – father of actress Dame Sheila Hancock – and Mrs Edward remembers how he used to say: “My Sheila is going to be a star”.

Dame Sheila sent Mrs Edward a “lovely” electronic card for her 100th birthday.

Mrs Edward now lives in Kingsclere near her daughter, Mary Sanger, who is the treasurer of the village Royal British Legion branch.

Mrs Edward was born on May 8, 1919
Mrs Edward was born on May 8, 1919
Cissie Edward 103 years with Bishop of Basingstoke Rt Revd David Williams. (56524882)
Cissie Edward 103 years with Bishop of Basingstoke Rt Revd David Williams. (56524882)

At the commemoration, Mrs Edward, who’s a great-grandmother of three boys, said it made her feel very special and that she “felt like a guest of honour” and a “princess for the day”.

She then had a party at her home in the afternoon, where guests donated £150 in total for Basingstoke Hospital.

The wreath at the memorial
The wreath at the memorial

The wreath was presented on behalf of the branch, reading: “VE Day – All our brave men and women – In Remembrance.”

The ceremony started at midday with a minute’s silence for those that should be remembered, and was followed by a special prayer for the loss of life in present conflicts, particularly Ukraine.



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