Westonian turns 100 and praises 'antibiotics' for her longevity

Joyce Cooksley with her son Robert (left) and grandson Peter (right)

Joyce Cooksley with her son Robert (left) and grandson Peter (right) at her 100th birthday party at Abbeygate residential home. She is holding her telegram from the Queen. - Credit: Archant

A Westonian who can remember the first Grand Pier fire and trams which used to run through town celebrated her 100th birthday earlier this month (May 12). 

Five months older than the BBC, Joyce Cooksley was born in 1922 and is one of Weston's longest living residents.

Having grown up on Clifton Road, Joyce has remained in the same area of town her entre life. She attended Locking Road Girls School and is now a 'very popular' resident of Abbeygate residential home on Beach Road, which is just a stone's throw from her previous address, in Clarence Road North. 

In her life, Joyce has witnessed Weston transition from a charming Victorian seaside resort to the somewhat metropolis it is today, with an ever-increasing population.

Some of the most significant events of recent human history has taken place during Joyce's tenure, which includes the formation of the USSR, Great Depression, World War Two, Cold War and even JFK's assassination. 

Joyce in her youth. 

Joyce in her youth. - Credit: Family

Joyce Cooksley on her 100th birthday at Abbeygate residential home in Weston. Joyce is holding her telegram from the Queen.

Joyce Cooksley on her 100th birthday at Abbeygate residential home in Weston. Joyce is holding her telegram from the Queen. - Credit: Archant

Joyce said her greatest achievement in life was her 'lovely family' who 'put the jewels in my crown'. On her vitality at reaching one century old, Joyce said it was all down to 'antibiotics and care in latter years'. 

Joyce and her family. 

Joyce and her family. - Credit: Family

On May 13, the home held a tea party with residents which saw around 30 singers from Weston Ukulele Players rock the house down with blasts from her youth. She also received a special telegram from the Queen that congratulated her on reaching a momentous age which Joyce displayed proudly to visitors. 

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She has three children, Robert, Harry and Mary, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Joyce's children pictured in Clarence Park. (L-R) Robert, Mary, Joyce, Harry.

Joyce's children pictured in Clarence Park. (L-R) Robert, Mary, Joyce, Harry. - Credit: Family

Her family commend their ‘very independent’ matriarch whose only ailment is slight deafness.  

Joyce is also the longest established member of Clarence Park Baptist Church, number one on their register of parishioners and watches Sunday service every week. She and her friend Joyce Brownet, has attended the church for more than 70 years and now live together at Abbeygate. 

Joyce was married for 40 years and during World War Two she worked at Elborough aircraft factory, also known as Vickars, in Hutton.

She also brought an evacuee, named Ernie, into the home who still keeps in regular contact with Joyce, even wishing a happy birthday on her special day.