‘I’ve never had a hot drink’ - Glass of Coca-Cola every day for the past 83 years keeps Ely’s Jean, 91, in good spirits
© Terry Harris
She’s never had a hot drink in her life but 83 years ago at the age of eight she tasted Coca-Cola – and has drunk it every day of her life since.
Now 91, Jean Cox says that Coca-Cola - not diet coke as the real thing "brings any wind up" - has been her passion and lifestyle choice.
The spritely great-grandmother - who has two glasses of Coca-Cola daily - says that it is "satisfying" and better than tea or coffee.
"My old doctor would always say that tea stains the stomach," she said.
"I've never had a hot drink and it's never done me any harm.
"I only use the kettle if the family come round, so I do have to keep teabags in but I don't touch them."
Her early childhood was spent drinking red Corona and other fizzy drinks.
Despite her mother trying to tempt her to have a hot drink to save her from having too much sugar, it still didn't work.
"When I was small my mom said 'you need to cut down on sugar my girl' but I thought what for," Jean explained.
"She said 'I cannot afford to keep buying so much sugar, so you will have Coke or Corona instead'.
"She insisted that I had a hot drink but then we had a few words and that's how it all started out drinking fizzy stuff.
"But then Coca-Cola came along and my mom would buy two crates of it."
Jean was hooked. Even on her wedding day, in 1948, her drink of choice was a red Corona.
Sitting in her living room, off Newnham Street, Ely, Jean sips her Coca-Cola out of her trendy mason jar drinking glass with a wordsearch book by her side.
She tells us how she regularly buys multi-packs of Coke from Thing-Me-Bobs in Market Street.
"If they don't have Coca-Cola in then I make do with Pepsi instead, but I don't like any of the diet stuff," she said.
"It brings any wind up and I rarely get that sickness feeling - I just have a cold now and then.
"After my two classes of Coke I'll have some water during the rest of the day.
"I lead a very active lifestyle still and go out shopping on the bus and walk to the doctors.
"Even if I go to the hospital they offer a glass of Coke."
Jean, who used to work on the land in the Fens, is well-known for her Coca-Cola addiction although she accepts people sometimes find it odd.
"When I go to see my friend Joyce she says that it's strange not asking someone if they want a cup of tea, especially an older person," Jean said.
"But she always keeps some Coca-Cola in the fridge for me.
"If I have a glass of squash it doesn't satisfy me, but Coca-Cola does.
It is only at a special occasion when Jean makes the exception to swap her glass of Coke for a shandy.
Ready to celebrate her 92nd birthday in December, Jean is looking forward to taking a Turkey & Tinsel trip to Bridlington.
She has holidayed across the globe since her husband Eddie sadly passed away in 2000.
"I love to go on holiday still," she said.
"I grew up in Littleport but I've been all over the world to places such as America, Canada and trips to Europe.
"Coca-Cola has been a main part of that - it's just how I am and what I like."
Coca-Cola's been around for more than 130 years and their portfolio consists of 80 drinks across 20 brands.
Advertising for Coca‑Cola came into its own in the 1970s, reflecting a brand associated with fun, friends and good times.
For many people the Coca-Cola Christmas advert marks the beginning of the festive season with its slogan 'holidays are coming'.
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