Barrow woman turns 107, surviving two world wars and two pandemics

A woman who grew up in Barrow-In-Furness has celebrated her 107th birthday.

Annie Reader, who celebrated her birthday on July 23, has survived two world wars and two pandemics in her lifetime – the Spanish flu and Covid-19.

The grandmother was joined by her family, friends and staff as she celebrated the incredible milestone with a large cake and balloons at her care home.

Although Annie was raised in Cumbria, she is now a resident at at Wilhelmina House in London.

Annie’s son David Reader, who regularly visits her, said: “She is an amazing lady and the whole family are very proud of [our] Nana.

“She has always gone out of her way to help all the family including her grandchildren who she has helped to bring up.”

Annie does not know how she has managed to reach 107 but says a glass of sherry a day has helped.

Despite Annie’s remarkable age, she still likes to be active, joining in with regular armchair exercise sessions in the home’s garden and communal areas.

Annie also enjoys being wheeled around the home’s beautiful, landscaped grounds.

Throughout her life, Annie has been on numerous far-flung adventures to countries including Nepal, Swaziland, Egypt, and Cambodia, where her son was a diplomat.

A daredevil at heart, Annie even braved a microlight ride in later life, hopping onto the lightweight aircraft to hit the skies at the age of 89.

Annie grew up in Barrow-in-Furness before being swept off her feet by Stan, a merchant seaman, at a ballroom dance.

The couple survived both wars, but not entirely unscathed.

Stan was captured when his ship sunk in World War II, and he remained a prisoner of war in Japan for three years.

Annie recalls the family home being bombed and seeing her father being covered from head to toe in soot.

Deborah Pearson, Home Manager, Wilhelmina House, said: “We are incredibly honoured to have been part of Annie’s milestone birthday celebrations.

“My team ensured that Annie was given a day to remember and the whole home sang ‘happy birthday’ to her.

“It was lovely to see her with a big smile on her face.”

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Lancs Live – Cumbria