10:02am Friday 27th September 2013
BORN one year before the start of the First World War and married one day before the start of the Second World War, Irene Jeffery has lived through 19 Prime Ministers, three Kings and one Queen.
On Wednesday, September 18, Irene celebrated an astonishing 100th birthday at a party with friends and family at Richmond Village in Painswick.
Irene - who was born in 1913 – grew up in Wood Green in north London where she attended grammar school before training as a secretary.
“She enjoyed all things to do with sport. She was a good gymnast and also a very good runner,” said Irene’s son Nigel, who has two daughters and six grandchildren.
“She belonged to the Wood Green and Southgate Athletics Club and even had a trial for the Olympics.”
On September 2, 1939, at the age of 25, Irene married Douglas Scotland, a bomber pilot who died near the end of the war leaving Irene to raise their two children Nigel and Vivien on her own.
After Douglas died Irene worked as a secretary to the principal of a college before training as a teacher herself at the University of London and eventually becoming the head of the commerce department at Garnett College in north London.
In 1973, after 28 years of widowhood, Irene married widower Frank Jeffery.
“Frank had an accountancy business in Derby so mother moved there with him and the pair enjoyed a very happy 33 years together before Frank died in 2007 just two weeks after they had moved to Richmond,” said Nigel.
Irene’s daughter Vivien travelled from her home in Michigan, America, to celebrate her mother's birthday.
“She seems to have really enjoyed the day with her family and friends and her birthday card from the Queen made the day even more special,” said Vivien, who has one son, Luke and three grandchildren.
Irene, who was still swimming up until a few years ago, said the key to 100 years is ‘good genes’ and ‘making sure you enjoy every day that you get’.
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group