As Flo celebrates her 101st birthday, she recalls her brother marching home from the Great War and bombs falling in the Second World War

17:00 03 March 2014

Florence Read of Sutton

Florence Read of Sutton


Hearing her brother march down the street as he returned from fighting in the First World War is one of the earliest memories of Florence Read, who has celebrated her 101st birthday.

Florence, known as Flo, was born on February 24, 1913 in St Ives the ninth of 13 children. She has nine brothers and three sisters and came from a farming family.

Flo attended Miss Patrick’s School in St Ives in her early years before graduating and marrying Leslie Read of Sutton, on November 17, 1937.

The couple’s first child was born a year later and they went on to have six children in nine years, her husband often joking that farmers had to find something to do during the blackout.

As a young mother during the Second World War, and living in the shadow of Mepal Airfield, Flo remembers having to cover the cots of her children with old doors to prevent plaster falling off the ceiling and injuring them when bombers came home from raids.

In 1946, Flo moved to High Street in Sutton where she remains to this day with her daughter Wendy, who looks after her.

Away from family life, Flo was a member of the Civil Defence Force, attended evening classes in oil painting, flower arranging and carpentry and was a member of the Business & Professional Women’s Club.

She was chairman of Sutton Ladies’ Conservatives and even took up golf in her fifties when youngest child left home, eventually getting her handicap down to 13.

She was at times ladies’ captain of both Ely and St Ives Golf Clubs and only gave up playing at age 86.

In recent times, Flo enjoys listening to her Fenprobe news every week and likes going to Ely on market days to have coffee in the Almonry as well as having lunch with friends.

She says that she enjoys visiting and being visited by her children and 15 grandchildren and has numerous great-grandchildren in the UK and New Zealand.

She celebrated her day with a family party.


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