Vera celebrates her 106th birthday

Wednesday 23rd November 2016 11:08 am
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Vera Coleman, seated centre, celebrates her birthday with family and friends ()

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VERA Victoria Coleman, née Herbert, celebrated her 106th birthday with family and friends at Hyne Town House in Strete

Vera was born in Chiswick, London, on November 17, 1910. After leaving school she trained as a seamstress and worked in London’s fashion houses.

She always loved singing and in her early 20s was a lauded contralto vocalist, appearing on BBC radio a number of times. She especially remembers singing Mendelssohn’s Oh, for the Wings of a Dove to the nation.

Vera also remembers being passed by a V2 bomb while walking home in London during the Second World War – fortunately it didn’t explode.

She met her husband, William ‘Bill’ Leslie Andrew Coleman, who came from Torquay, but was studying mechanical engineering in London.

Vera and Bill moved to Plymouth after their wedding and had three children, two of whom are still alive, Brian Coleman, who lives in Chillington, and Julia Birchall, who lives in Kingsbridge.

Vera and Bill moved to Frogmore in 1968 following Bill’s retirement from his role as a director of the then General Post Office. 

Vera has since been an active member of the WI, Sherford Church volunteers and the West Country Embroiderers, as well as playing bridge well into her 90s.

After Bill’s death in 1987, Vera moved to Chillington where she lived for about 10 years, before moving to a flat in Kingsbridge in the late 1990s. She lived independently there until quite recently.

Vera has five grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren living in the UK and Australia.

In her birthday card from the Queen, Her Majesty wrote: ‘What a splendid achievement! I send you my warm congratulations and best wishes for your one hundred and sixth birthday on 17th November, 2016.’

Vera said she owes her complexion and looks to Ponds Cold Cream and, when asked for the secret of her longevity, she added with a cheeky smile: ‘Being pure and living a life without sin.’

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