Fri, 07 Feb 2020
WHEN Gertrude Annie Kingston was born on February 1, 1909, Edward VII was still on the throne.
On Saturday, ‘Gertie’ – as she is known to her friends and family – celebrated her 111th birthday, making her the sixth oldest person in the UK.
Family went round to her Enbridge House Care Home in Woolton Hill for cake, before Mrs Kingston enjoyed an even bigger cake with her fellow residents at the home.
She also received another birthday card from the Queen, sending her best wishes for the special occasion.
When asked how she treated life now, Mrs Kingston said that she takes each day as it comes, enjoying the little pleasures in life, such as snooker and horse racing on the TV.
She also loves the curries and roast dinners in the home.
She was born in Farnborough, but has lived the majority of her life in West Berkshire, spending the last 11 years as a resident at the Woolton Hill care home.
One of her earliest memories was of her father leaving to fight in the First World War.
She also recalls returning home from school in Aldermaston in December 1917 to news that he had been killed in the war.
The family moved to Yattendon, where Mrs Kingston took a job at Barn Close. Here her musical talent flourished, learning to play the violin and the cello.
She also took part in the Newbury Musical Festival at the Corn Exchange, with a choir made up of villagers from Yattendon and Frilsham.
In 1954, Mrs Kingston – who had learned typing during her time at Barn Close – took a job at the School of Military Survey at Hermitage.
It was here where she met her husband Ernie, who she married in February 1960.
They had many happy years together before he died in April 1983.
Mrs Kingston was a lifelong member of the Women’s Institute and was the secretary of the organisation’s Yattendon and Frilsham branch.
For many years, she also typed the village newsletter, The Broadsheet, which was typed on the old stencils and printed on a Roneo machine, as well as helping out at the Yattendon and Frilsham Fete.
Eventually her health deteriorated and she moved a couple of times, arriving at Enbridge House Care Home in 2009.
She is still in good health however, managing the stairs twice a day to her room on the first floor of the house.