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Newbury resident Lillian Cook celebrates with friends and family as she turns 100

Happy 100th birthday, Lillian Cook – mother, grandmother, great grandmother... and great, great grandmother.

The centenarian, who lived almost all her life in Newbury, survived a world war and, more recently, an international coronavirus pandemic, despite being infected before vaccines were available.

The indomitable Mrs Cook is now a mother, grandmother, great grandmother – and even a great, great grandmother – to descendants "almost too many to count", according to one of her surviving children – 56-year-old Malcolm Cook, who lives in Thatcham.

Lillian Cooke celebrates her 100th Birthday
Lillian Cooke celebrates her 100th Birthday

When she was born, the world was celebrating the discovery of the first vaccination against tuberculosis and – on a darker note – one Mr A Hitler became leader of Germany's so-called National Socialist Party.

Mrs Cook was one of 10 children and, during the war, worked at Thatcham rail station helping to make tents and other supplies for the troops.

She married Malcolm Cook, who served with the Royal Air Force during the war and who later worked for Reeds Corrugated Cases Ltd at Colthrop, just outside Thatcham.

Mr Cook retired, aged 65 and sadly died one year later, in 1983.

The couple, meanwhile, had had six children.

The eldest, Michael, died six years ago, followed by sister Barbara.

They were survived by siblings Malcolm, twins Terrence and Raymond and eldest daughter Teresa.

Malcolm Cook of MA Cook Plastering Contractors and Builders, who lives on Bath Road, Thatcham, said his mother was active in Thatcham Royal British Legion and enjoyed bingo in Newbury until becoming frail in her late 90s.

He said: "She lived in the family home with us until a couple of years ago when she started having serious falls."

Mrs Cook enjoyed a 100th birthday party at Birchwood House residential care home in Newbury on Friday, surrounded by family.

Mr Cook said: "She's pretty tough, having survived becoming infected with coronavirus a year ago before there were any vaccines.

"She absolutely loved her big day and getting a telegram from the queen."

Meanwhile Mrs Cook is said to keep her friends in the home entertained with her fine singing voice.

Mr Cook said: "We were concerned, but she absolutely loves it in the care home. And I reckon she's got years in her, yet."

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