SHE has been the heart and soul – by both name and nature – of her family for more than a century.
And nothing has changed, as Littlehampton’s Ivy Soul celebrated her 105th birthday surrounded by friends and family, last Wednesday (August 14).
Ivy, who lives at the Summerlea Nursing Home, in East Street, was lavished with gifts and treats by her loved ones during her birthday party at the centre.
Caroline Fletcher, manager of the home, said: “Ivy is a typical, sweet old lady. She is quiet and very polite.
“But she loves being with her family. They always bring her the most amazing treats.
“She does seem to really, really love her family and she comes alive when they visit her.”
Ivy moved to the home in 2001, when her late husband Geoffrey fell ill.
Born in Walthamstow, north London, she attended the Guildhall School of Music, where she became an expert pianist and played well into her 80s.
Ivy also sang in a choir conducted by Planets composer Gustav Holst and was the secretary of a folk-dance committee whose chairman was influential composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.
It was while with this group she met her husband Geoffrey, at Cecil Sharp House, London, the headquarters of the English Folk Dance and Song Society.
The couple married in 1937 at Tufnell Park, London, living in Welwyn Garden City until the 1970s, when they moved to Middleton-on-Sea.
The pair were stalwarts members of the congregation of St Mary’s Church, Littlehampton, for more than 30 years.
Ivy still has a close relationship with St Mary’s vicar, Father Roger Caswell.
She has two children, Petrema and Peter, and three grandchildren with her first great-grandchildren expected later this year.
Her son Peter joked: “This will give my mother even more reason to keep on going!”