Born survivor Florrie marks her 100th

Witney Gazette: Florrie Pratt with her card from the Queen Buy this photo Florrie Pratt with her card from the Queen

AFTER surviving a flu epidemic which killed most of her family, Florrie Pratt was lucky to escape the devastating bombing of Coventry in the blitz.

Despite Mrs Pratt’s tragic loss, she went on to enjoy a long and healthy life and yesterday celebrated her 100th birthday, which took place on Saturday.

Born Florence Neville in Northbrook, near Kirtlington, on November 17, 1912, she was one of six children.

Her family moved to the Lamb Inn at Bladon, near Woodstock, when she was very young.

When she was just five disaster struck, and her mother, father, eldest sister and baby brother died in the 1918 flu epidemic.

Orphaned, the four remaining children were separated, and another of her sisters died two years later from meningitis.

Mrs Pratt moved to London to live with relatives before moving to Coventry to live with an aunt and uncle at the age of 10, and only returned to Bladon to be reunited with her sisters at the age of 16.

She met and married Ted Pratt in 1936, and during the blitz in 1940 the pair took refuge in an air raid shelter for 13 hours, and emerged homeless. Luckily their daughter Judith, two, had been evacuated to Hanborough.

The pensioner said: “I always thought I would reach 100, and it feels wonderful. We struggled through everything, everybody pulled together and we got through it.”

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After the blitz, Mrs Pratt and her husband moved in with Ted’s mother until they managed to rent a house in Kenilworth and ran a green grocery stall in Coventry Market. Second daughter Jennifer was born in 1947.

They lived in New Road, Long Hanborough for a couple of years, where Mrs Pratt worked in the Co-op and Jennifer went to Witney Grammar School. They then moved back to Kenilworth where Ted died aged 66 in 1973. Mrs Pratt moved back to Hanborough in 1991, to be near sisters Beatrice Grant and Sarah Bowden.

She lived in a flat in Main Road before moving to her bungalow in Pinsey Road, where she still lives.

A party was held in her honour at the Long Hanborough day centre yesterday, and she received her card from the Queen.

She said: “I knew I was going to have one, so it wasn’t a big surprise, but it was wonderful to open it. I’ve had a lovely time, I can’t thank everyone enough.”

Mrs Pratt also has three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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