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"Happy and relaxed" great-grandmother from Epsom Downs turns 100
A "happy and relaxed" great-grandmother was surrounded by family and friends as she celebrated her 100th birthday on Wednesday.
Iris Harris, who lives in Downs Cottage care home in Epsom Downs, enjoyed a party at the home to mark her milestone on September 4.
Mrs Harris, who has suffered from dementia for the past decade, was born in Folkestone, Kent, in 1912 and was one of eight children.
After leaving school, she helped her mother look after her siblings and the household as the eldest daughter in the family, until, aged 21, she got a job as a supervisor at Marks and Spencer.
In 1938, she married the late Thomas Harris, then 25, when she was aged 26, and stayed home as a mother and a housewife after her marriage.
Mrs Harris’ daughter, Valerie Hinton, said: "My father was in the air force for the war and he stayed in it until 1958. During all those years, my mother travelled around Europe with him.
"My parents were very happily married - they were a popular couple in the Sergeant’s Mess."
A grandmother and great-grandmother of six, Mrs Harris moved to Epsom in 2002 from Hove to be closer to her daughter.
Mrs Hinton said her mother is "happy and settled" in her life, despite suffering from dementia.
The 72-year-old said: "She was always a very strong and positive personality.
"When she was younger she was outgoing and sporty - the girl on top of the pyramid in athletics.
"She used to be a worrier before she had dementia, but now I have seen another side of her which is soft and relaxed."
Mrs Harris’ son Keith died, aged 3 months, in 1947, and Mrs Hinton believes keeping his memory alive is a great comfort to her mother.
She said: "She has a doll with her at all times which she cares for as if it was a baby.
"It is very real to her and I like to think that, for her, it is the son she lost.
"It keeps her going. It’s important she has something she feels is comforting."