Bingo loving Eastender celebrates 100th birthday

Julia Annie Richards and friends at her birthday party at Globe Town Community Association

Julia Annie Richards and friends at her birthday party at Globe Town Community Association - Credit: Archant

An East End care home has hosted a party for one its residents as she celebrated her 100th birthday.

Julie Richards, who prefers to be called Annie, was joined by her fellow bingo players at the Globe Town Community Association, in Bullards Place, on December 5 to celebrate the special milestone before her actual birthday.

Annie, who has lived in her home on the ground floor in Bradbeer House, Bethnal Green, since 1943, turned 100 on Sunday and her daughter Patricia and her grandsons have whisked her away on a trip to Portsmouth, where she joked that she would try to find herself a sailor.

She said: “It was a marvellous. I really enjoyed the day they prepared for me and the people that did this all are wonderful.

“I’ve got so many presents and flowers, I’m going to need a taxi to take it all away.

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“I love it here. I’m really happy and overwhelmed by it all, to be honest.”

Annie, who has lived in the borough all her life, said she rued the change in characters in the area.

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She said: “I’m an East Ender and back then we all helped one another, but now it is not like that and I wish it was.”

Annie was orphaned in 1927 when her mother, Ellen Woollacott, died. Her father, William Woollacott, had been killed during the First World War while fighting in Eygpt.

When Annie was 14, she met her future husband, David George Richards, and couple married in July 1935, some eight years later. He died in 1993, aged 79.

In 1950, Annie recalls shaking the hand of a very special visitor to Bethnal Green.

She said: “I was doing my shopping and I met Prince Charles in Wilmot Street.

“He was walking and talking to people and when I saw him we shook hands.

“It was a nice royal occasion, really good to meet a member of the royal family.”

Leslie Keeper, 66, has known Annie for eight years through her work at Globe Town.

“I can’t believe it, she doesn’t have a grey hair on her head,” said Leslie.

“She never moans and is always so lovely.”

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