A Horsham woman who wasn’t expected to survive more than six months after she was born has celebrated her 100th birthday.
Florence Arch reached her centenary on Friday, August 23, and was joined by family and friends for two afternoon tea parties to mark the special milestone.
Born in South London in 1919, Florence’s tough start to life was due to a cleft palate which caused problems with her feeding.
As there wasn’t an operation to correct it 100 years ago, the doctor’s fear was that she would not get enough nutrition to survive.
She lost a lot of birth weight and was continually crying through hunger, but was fortunate enough to pull through.
Florence started her working life with Norman Hartnell, intricately embroidering many of the beautiful clothes of that name.
She married in 1945 and subsequently had three children, two girls and a boy. The second daughter sadly died of a brain virus when she was nine. She now has five grandchildren and ten great grandchildren.
After her husband died, she moved to Horsham to be near her daughter and family and was the first to move into the Parkside Mews development 25 years ago when it was newly built.
Florence fully embraced her new life in Horsham, joining St Mary’s Church and helping at various church activities. She belongs to Mother’s Union, although no longer an active member, and has enjoyed many holidays and day trips out with a local coach company.
Florence spent most of her adult life looking after other people until three and a half years ago when she needed caring herself, and she is now a resident at Heathfield Care Home.