Dagenham pensioner Eileen turns 100 with cake and crossword

Dagenham resident Eileen Jude celebrating her 100th birthday

Dagenham resident Eileen Jude celebrating her 100th birthday - Credit: Archant

A wordsmith has entered her second century by crossing another thing off her list – her daily crossword.

Eileen Jude saw in her 100th birthday with live music, an enormous birthday cake and a glass of chilled white wine with other residents at Chestnut Court Care Home, Dagenham, on Tuesday.

But not before the centenarian had completed her latest puzzle.

“I’m very interested in words and dictionaries in general,” admitted the brainy pensioner.

The only child to Mabel and Harry Jude, Eileen was born in 1916 in Colchester. After spending her childhood in Sudbury in Suffolk, she moved to London in her early twenties to get her first job.

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“I was quite an ordinary common garden secretary,” laughed Eileen, who worked for a trade publisher based in central London.

Eileen remembers getting to know London through running messages across the capital.

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“I didn’t know anything about London before,” added Eileen, who broke off two engagements whilst living in the capital – though she won’t betray why.

The keen dancer – music from Elvis and Nat King Cole on her special day – lived in Seven Kings for the majority of her adult life, and would frequent ballroom dances at Redbridge Town Hall.

Her lasting memory of the Second World War was the “most awkward” disruptions to travel in the capital.

Reflecting on turning a century, Eileen added: “I can’t believe it!

“I have no regrets. I just get on with life, take it as it comes.

“My motto is keep going and doing the things you want to do, you want to make sure you don’t regret things you should have done.”

On her card from the Queen, Eileen added: “I respect her – she does a marvellous job.”

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