100th birthday celebrations for St Ives’ woman who survived war camp in Burma
- Credit: Archant
Just three months after celebrating her 21st birthday, a chain of events occurred which was to change the life of St Ives centenarian Theresa Coverdale forever.
Almost 80 years on she has celebrated her 100th birthday with her family around her reminiscing days gone by including that fateful day - the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941 by the Japanese and what it meant for her family.
It was this event which led to Theresa and other members of her family being interned in a Japanese camp in Burma for the next three years. Theresa was put to work, her father and niece Clare both died, while her mother died just a few months after they were liberated by American soldiers in 1945 from Typhoid.
Theresa along with her daughter Collette, young brother Jimmy Nicholls and nieces Diddy (Marie) and Ann survived. She had been born in Burma where her father, the son of a tobacco manufacturer from Chester, was an accountant.
In 1920 the year she was born, movies were still silent, public radio had only just begun and women still did not have the vote.
When Theresa arrived in the UK she went on to have two more children, sons John and Mark, and moved to St Ives in the early 1970s where she settled with husband Chris and the family.
John went on to study jazz and classical guitar at the London College of Music and has since worked with many top jazz musicians and singers, while Mark founded Coversure Insurance Services and is now a Road Racing Sponsor with Team ILR and Team Mirai.
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Theresa developed a passion for the art of Paper Toile in later life creating 3D pictures and cards. She along with husband Chris would attend many art and craft exhibitions in the area.
A regular worshipper at St Ives Catholic Church before she became frail, Theresa celebrated her birthday with a special cake, lots of cards and presents as well as visits in small groups from her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.