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Jean Green, Doreen Halliday and Dorothy Chantler of Gardenia House, Dartford, celebrate 303 years

By Ed McConnell

It’s not often you get to meet a centenarian, let alone three, but nursery children did exactly that as they helped three special ladies celebrate very grand birthdays.

With 303 years between them Jean Green, Doreen Halliday, and Dorothy Chantler, took centre stage at Gardenia House Care Home in Dartford, on Friday.

Meanwhile the children of Temple Hill Primary Academy filled the floor of the packed room, playing with balloons and singing songs.

Jean Green, 102, Dorothy Chantler, 101 and Doreen Halliday, 100
Jean Green, 102, Dorothy Chantler, 101 and Doreen Halliday, 100

The youngsters go to the home every two weeks to spend time with the residents.

Headmistress Danielle Egonu said: “It’s really helped bring some of them out of their shell and they were all coming here today asking if certain residents would be here.

“It’s the highlight of everyone’s fortnight.”

Doreen Halliday, 100, celebrates her birthday at Gardenia House
Doreen Halliday, 100, celebrates her birthday at Gardenia House

All three women were presented with pictures from their wedding days and specially-made birthday cards, before being serenaded with Happy Birthday.

Mrs Chantler – who turned 101 in October – was born in Bredhurst and credits fresh air and a good diet for her impressive age.

Mrs Halliday – who was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, in 1917, and turned 100 in April – said she was having a lovely time. Up until three years ago she still enjoyed weekly dances.

Dorothy Chantler, 101
Dorothy Chantler, 101
Jean Green, 102, says her secret is "having fun"
Jean Green, 102, says her secret is "having fun"

Mrs Green – who celebrated her 102nd birthday last month and only moved to the home aged 96 – was born in Longfield in 1915, and has spent her life in different parts of Kent.

The great-grandmother of five previously worked as a barmaid at her father’s pub, the White Heart in Greenhithe – which is now the Sir John Franklin – while her family also ran a greengrocer’s in Gillingham.

When asked what she thought about turning 102, Mrs Green said: “I’ve enjoyed it,” adding her secret was to “have fun”.

The children from Temple Hill Primary Academy serenade the centenarians

Jean Green on turning 102

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