'Always smiling' former mayoress turns 100
- Credit: Sally Patterson
An Upminster woman has celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by friends and family.
Kate Tibble, also known as Kit, marked the landmark this week with a party hosted by Meadowbanks Care Home.
She was joined by sons John and David; their wives, who are both called Janet; four of her grandchildren and two of her great-grandchildren.
Kit told this paper: "I couldn't feel better.
"I've got a family lovely, and I'm very happy in the home."
Handing out champagne glasses, son John Kibble said he was feeling fantastic.
The 71-year-old explained: "It's a real tribute to my mum that she's lived so long and been looked after so well.
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"She's had a wonderful life and had a wonderful marriage."
Brother David added: "It's the greatest thing, and she's still healthy.
"It's been a very difficult year, speaking on Facetime and outside, so this is the first time we've been allowed to be close to her."
Born in Bromley-by-Bow, Kit and her family moved to Dagenham during the Blitz before she was evacuated to Kidderminster in Worcestershire, where she supported the war effort manufacturing ammunition.
She later returned to Dagenham and worked at the Ford Motor Company, where she met husband-of-60-years Fred Tibble.
Fred was a Labour councillor for around 40 years, and in 1976 he and Kit became mayor and mayoress of Barking and Dagenham borough.
Kit moved to the care home six years ago, and before lockdown restrictions were implemented last year, David would take his mother out for lunch almost every day.
Upon arrival at the birthday party, guests had their temperatures taken and did swab tests to check they were free of Covid-19.
Meadowbanks manager Maureen Wright added: "She's a lovely lady and they're a lovely family, so it's a pleasure to host the party for them."
Granddaughter Kate, who is named after Kit, said: "It's just amazing that she's been able to live for 100 years, and she's still really happy and lively."
Her cousin Alice added: "It's very impressive- she's always so level-headed about everything, such as going through the war.
"I'm very proud."
Kit's niece Melanie Hart said: "She's looking really well and happy.
"After the year we've had, it's so lovely to be able to come in here and be with her and share her day."
Husband John added: "In the 55 years I've known her, she hasn't changed."
Mya Bolding, 11, said she was "very impressed" by her great-grandmother's milestone.
She explained: "Most people don't get to 100, and I have no idea what her secret is but she looks flawless for her age.
"She's got a great sense of humour and always has a smile on her face."