Celebrations for the 102nd birthday of Amy Lanham, a resident at Brendoncare St Giles View care home in Winchester, started last Thursday (30th May) with her enjoying fish and chips for lunch at city restaurant Shoal.

Afterwards, a birthday party for Amy was held at St Giles View, attended by family members including her son Tony and daughter Jean.

Amy grew up in Cheshire with her family comprising eight brothers and sisters. As the eldest daughter, she acted as the surrogate mother to the other seven children, helping with the household chores. 

Leaving school, Amy worked as a seamstress in a shirt factory. At the outbreak of World War 2, a friend asked Amy if she would like to meet a young man called Mervyn who had taken lodgings with her widowed mother. 

He had moved from Bournemouth to start a job in a munitions factory near Warrington. They married in 1941 but did not have a honeymoon. Instead, they saved up for a lorry that Mervyn needed for his job with the War Agricultural Department. 

The couple moved to East Anglia during which time they had Jean in 1942, and later returned to Amy’s parents’ home in Warrington where Tony was born in 1944. While on a trip from their Norfolk home to see Mervyn’s brother and sister in law in Ringwood, they stopped at Chandlers Ford to break the journey and liked the area. 

They visited an estate agent and bought a plot of land in Kingsway on which they built a bungalow. Mervyn, who had started a landscaping business, got permission for build four more properties in Hocombe Road, Chandlers Ford. 

The couple later bought an old farmhouse in France where they lived while Mervyn recovered from ill-health. They toured most of the continent in various camper vans, moving to Spain in winter where the weather was better. 

Returning to England, they bought a smallholding in Easton Lane in Winnall, which they made into their home and spent six months living abroad each year.

The couple then moved to Romsey, sold their French farmhouse and they bought a Spanish apartment where they lived.  After Mervyn died in 1994, Amy moved to Poole and then to Lions Hall in Winchester when she was 90, living there until she was 100. 

Amy’s family also extends to four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. 

Gillian Buxton, Wellbeing Supervisor at Brendoncare St Giles View said: “Amy is such a special lady who loves getting involved in all the activities here. She particularly enjoyed the visit by the penguins earlier this year.” 

Brendoncare St Giles View is run by Winchester-based charity, Brendoncare, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Brendoncare provides care homes, extra care housing and community clubs for older people across southern England. For more details, visit the website: www.brendoncare.org.uk.