BIRTHDAYS don’t come much grander than the ripe old age of 102.
But that’s exactly the extraordinary milestone East Preston centenarian Molly Jones celebrated achieving on Thursday (November 13).
Molly has been a resident at the Green Willow Residential Care Home, in Vicarage Lane, for almost a year, and ushered in her latest birthday with a party at the centre.
Speaking about her mother, daughter Pauline, who lives in Richmond Upon Thames, said: “She has had a hard life and she is a real survivor.
“She has always been a very determined woman and to her, there is no such word as ‘can’t’.
“It’s her determination that has got her through her life and to where she is today.”
Molly was born on November 13, 1912 – almost two years before the outbreak of the First World War.
During her childhood she lived with her parents and two brothers at Hilldrop Farm, in the small village of Otford, Kent. She started working at the tender age of 13, initially helping her father at their farm.
During the early 1930s she met her first husband – and future father of her two children – Sydney Gehlcken.
She and Sydney loved to dance together in the ballrooms at Brighton.
The pair married in 1936 at Sevenoaks, where they ran a small newsagent.
Tragically, Sydney died from tuberculosis a few years later, in 1946, leaving Molly to raise their two children, 19-month-old Pauline and seven-year-old Brian alone.
Ever the hard worker, Pauline ran a number of businesses, including a guest house in Hove, before working at a wool shop in Richmond. She later became a buyer of women’s clothing.
During the 1970s, she married Roger Jones, who died in 1992. In 1995, she moved to Crown Court, in Manor Road, East Preston.
She has two grandchildren, Barnaby, 38, and Chloe, 31, and one great-granddaughter, Sky, who will be celebrating her second birthday next week.