True lady of Lowestoft marks 105th birthday milestone with family

PUBLISHED: 14:32 11 June 2018 | UPDATED: 14:32 11 June 2018

Celebrating her 105th birthday, Nellie Vallance with the Reverend Damon Rogers, Diane Sharman and  family. Pictures: Mick Howes

Celebrating her 105th birthday, Nellie Vallance with the Reverend Damon Rogers, Diane Sharman and family. Pictures: Mick Howes


Not normally one to make a fuss about anything Nellie Vallance made an exception for her 105th birthday celebrations.

Generally a fan of quiet order and reading she allowed herself to be the centre of attention for the day - and by all accounts loved every minute.

Friends and family drawn from the church and her own relatives gathered in St Andrew’s Church in Roman Road, Lowestoft, to mark her milestone with hymns and thankful praise.

More than 50 people attended the service on Sunday afternoon lead by Rev Damon Rogers who hailed her strong faith and church family ethic as well as her extraordinary longevity.

He told the gathering that in a country of more than 60m people Mrs Vallance was one of an elite group of just over 800 who had reached such a great age.

He outlined her remarkably long life reminding people she was born before the start of the First World War and had lived through a long period of upheaval and change.

Living through the war years, the boom of the 1950s, the swinging 60s, the three day week into the computer age meant she had seem more change than most, he said, but her faith had remained constant.

He said: “Today we salute you, we congratulate you and thank you for your diligent Christian Faith and service through the years.”

After the service Mrs Vallance’s daughter Diane Sharman, 71, said she was delighted so many people, some from many miles away, had turned out to share the day.

She said both she and her mother were “overwhelmed” by all the kind words and atmosphere of happy celebration. Born in Lowestoft she said Mrs Vallance had spent only short periods away - including during the Second World War - when she met her husband Leslie in Devon, and much of the family still lived around the Roman Hill area.

The church family had always been very important to her mother who now lives in The Gables in Gorleston.

Always very neat and ordered her motto of “everything in moderation” looked to have served her well, Mrs Sharman said, adding that her mother had rarely been ill or taken any medication.

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