MARY Oakey was surrounded by family and friends on Friday as she celebrated her 101st birthday.

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Mary, the youngest of 17 children, was joined by a host of relatives for a tea party at Laburnum Lodge, in Littleport, where she has been a resident for the past two years.

Mary, whose real name is Florence, was born in Willingham in 1912 to Walter and Emma Tibbitt and was raised in the village with her 16 siblings before marrying Wilfred Oakey and moving to Littleport while in her 20s.

Wilfred was a crane driver at a factory in Ely while Mary worked at the Hope Brothers factory in Littleport. The couple were married for 49 years. Wilfred died 19 years ago.

She remained independent and in her own home in Hoof Close until 2011, when she moved into the care home, in Victoria Street, becoming its oldest resident.

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