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Special 100th birthday surprise for Dagenham Girl Pipers original member

PUBLISHED: 10:00 08 April 2020

Hilda Orchard with the 100th birthday card she received from the Dagenham Girl Pipers. Picture: Judith Baker

Hilda Orchard with the 100th birthday card she received from the Dagenham Girl Pipers. Picture: Judith Baker

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One of the original Dagenham Girl Pipers was delighted with a surprise from her former band for her 100th birthday.

Hilda Hickey, as she was then known, was a drummer in the Dagenham Girl Pipers prior to World War II. Picture: Judith BakerHilda Hickey, as she was then known, was a drummer in the Dagenham Girl Pipers prior to World War II. Picture: Judith Baker

Hilda Hickey (now Orchard) was a dancer and drummer in the famous pipe band after joining as a 12-year-old in 1932 and toured North America at the age of 18.

She later married Eddy Orchard, who was in the Royal Air Force, and had five children. They emigrated to Australia in the 1964.

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Mrs Orchard was set to return for a reunion of the original members of the Dagenham Girl Pipers on January 1, 2000, but fell ill and was told not to travel by her doctor.

Hilda Orchard, nee Hickey, surrounded by family at her 100th birthday celebration. Picture: Judith BakerHilda Orchard, nee Hickey, surrounded by family at her 100th birthday celebration. Picture: Judith Baker

So, she was “thrilled to bits” to receive a card from the Dagenham Girl Pipers to congratulate her on the milestone.

Mrs Orchard, who turned 100 on March 23, is one of two remaining original members.

She enjoyed a small birthday celebration with family at her home in Loganholme, Queensland, where she has lived alone since her husband passed away a few years ago.


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