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Great-grandmother Marjorie Bonner from Maidstone celebrates 100th birthday

A great-grandmother from Maidstone who married her husband three days before Victory in Europe in 1945, is now celebrating her 100th birthday.

Marjorie Bonner, originally from Suffolk, moved to Kent in 1946 soon after she married her husband Flt Lt Ernest "Jack" Bonner, commanding officer of Dunwich radar station.

Jack and Marjorie Bonner married three days before VE day. Picture John Wardley
Jack and Marjorie Bonner married three days before VE day. Picture John Wardley

The pair married at Saxmundham Parish Church near her home in Suffolk on May 5, 1945. Just three days later was VE Day which they celebrated in Bournemouth while on honeymoon.

Speaking on her birthday, Mrs Bonner said: "I've had lots of wonderful cards and flowers sent through and I've spoken to my son in Australia so it has been a lovely day so far.

"My birthday will mainly be me and my friends. They might pop in to have a cup of tea or a glass of cherry and a piece of cake."

Before she married, Marjorie worked in Barclays Bank as a cashier where she wrote letters behind the scenes.

Looking back on the time, Mrs Bonner said: "I worked with Barclays Bank from 1937 to 1946. I was 19 on the first call up list and the bank said, as they were going to lose a lot of men, they wanted me to stay. I didn't really want to go into the forces so I stayed in Barclays at a place called Halesworth in Suffolk. I left the bank when I got married and that's when we moved to Kent."

Marjorie still enjoys playing her piano for choirs today. Picture John Wardley
Marjorie still enjoys playing her piano for choirs today. Picture John Wardley

Jack's job brought the couple to Maidstone soon after the Second World War. They had two children, Frances and Graham, and now have five grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Now widowed, Mrs Bonner from Allington Way, spends her time playing the piano, painting china and knitting.

She said: "I learned to play the piano when I was a very little girl, maybe six or seven and I've played it ever since. I didn't go in for a lot of exams because we lived in the countryside and I've always loved it. I've accompanied many choirs in my lifetime. I started with the WI in the 60s and I've played accompaniments ever since.

"I've played for a group called the silver tones, the WI district choir, Larkfield Active Retirement Association and then moved over to Allington Active Retirement Association."

Mrs Bonner also plays with the Involve singing group and is looking forward to playing with them again after the pandemic.

Still as active as ever, she added: "I don't like sitting and doing nothing so I also paint china. I started adult education many years ago and I've kept it up. I paint mugs and all sorts of things, my house is full of them. I use special paints that need to be fired once I've done it.

"At the moment I'm painting a big teapot with an oast house and a windmill on one side, and an oast house and a church on the other side.

"I draw it all on with a special pencil and then paint it with special paint. I then take it down to Aylesford Priory where it is fired."

Mrs Bonner keeps most of the creations herself but says her talents come in handy at Christmas time.

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