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Published poet, Kathleen Bidewell, celebrates 100th birthday at Dereham retirement home

PUBLISHED: 15:51 08 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:16 08 September 2017

Kathleen Bidewell, who celebrated her 100th birthday on Friday, September 8, in Dereham. Photo: Quebec Hall

Kathleen Bidewell, who celebrated her 100th birthday on Friday, September 8, in Dereham. Photo: Quebec Hall

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A 100-year-old woman, who is a published poet, has celebrated her centenary birthday with her family and friends in Dereham.

Miss Bidewell received around 70 birthday cards, including a card from the Queen. Photo: Quebec Hall Miss Bidewell received around 70 birthday cards, including a card from the Queen. Photo: Quebec Hall

Kathleen Bidewell, of Quebec Hall, Dereham, reached her landmark birthday on Friday, September 8.

Miss Bidewell, who is known to her friends as Kay, has been living in the care home since 2013.

She grew up in Norwich, and lived around the Cambridge and Onley Street area.

Miss Bidewell said: “I feel I’m too old! But really and truly, I can’t complain. Apart from my arthritis, I’ve got nothing to complain about.

“I’ve had a lot of visitors already, and I’ve got some family coming today.”

Miss Bidewell is a prolific writer, who spends much of her time composing poems and letters to her friends.

Mark Woodgett, general manager of Quebec Hall, said: “Something everyone says is how lovely she is. Kay loves writing, and she writes to a lot of people.

“She’s got around 60 to 80 cards today, and we think she’ll be getting on for 100 when the post arrives.”

Miss Bidewell helped the home to compile a book of poetry to raise funds for a new lift, and has just had another poetry collection published.

Mr Woodgett added: “The first edition, which we had to do a reprint of, we sold 250 copies.

“We’ve just done another one, and there are lovely poems in that.

“The books are sold for £5 to go towards the home, and the first one went towards funding a lift.

“It was very important to her.”

Miss Bidewell said that her poems were about: “life in general, and some are based in scripture.

“One was about the Blitz in Norwich.”

Apart from her poetry, Miss Bidewell spends her time at the home enjoying crossword puzzles, and writing endless letters.

She added: “I like to keep my brain active.”

A family friend, Diana Benoy, described Miss Bidewell as “the most mentally alert 100-year-old”.

She has welcomed visitors and family to share in her celebrations over a few weeks.

Mr Woodgett said: “We’ve got her a cake, in three separate pieces that spells out 100. She’s got masses of flowers, and cards, and she’ll have a card from the queen.”

Quebec Hall, formerly Quebec Castle, has been a retirement home for Christians since 1960.

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