Irene celebrates 100th birthday with party fit for a queen

100 year old Irene Wallace, at Ringshill Nursing Home, Huntingdon

100 year old Irene Wallace, at Ringshill Nursing Home, Huntingdon - Credit: Archant

A woman who has lived through two world wars, experienced the Blitz and seen her family spread throughout the world has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Irene Wallace as an infant.

Irene Wallace as an infant. - Credit: Archant

Irene Wallace, who lives in Ringshill Care Home, Huntingdon, marked her centenary with a party, on Saturday, that was fit for the queen.

“I had a wonderful party that was arranged by my son-in-law, we had an Elvis impersonator that has been here before and he was absolutely wonderful,” said Mrs Wallace.

“It was so breathtaking - the queen hasn’t had as much attention as I have had.”

Born in 1916 in Hammersmith, she moved to Berkshire aged two with her family, eventually going into service.

“We left school when we were 14 in those days and I went into service in a big house. At 6am I would scrub the marble step outside and then I would be in the kitchen for the rest of the day taking orders from the chef,” recalls Mrs Wallace.

It wasn’t until she was 16 that Mrs Wallace left service and went to work behind the counter in a chemist – which she did until the day she retired.

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Despite loving her job, her biggest love was her husband, Alfred, who she met when she was 12-years-old.

“I met Alfred when I was walking with my friend from school and he was with his school chum and then we went out together.”

After getting married on March 20, 1937, Mrs Wallace had to say goodbye to her husband for 18 months as he was called up for national service at the start of the Second World War.

It was then that she went through the “dreadful” London Blitz of 1940-41 whilst bringing up her two children.

“Where we lived in London went through the Blitz. It was dreadful as I lived through it with other single mothers.

“When it was over we had to move out of the area as our houses had to be pulled down because if they hadn’t been bombed then they weren’t safe.”

Mrs Wallace has four grandchildren, some of whom live in Australia and Canada, and a number of great-grandchildren.