A daughter has paid tribute to her 106-year-old mother who was believed to be Dereham’s oldest resident.

Gladys Dodsworth, who died on July 5, had been cared for at Eckling Grange Care Home.

In a first for Eckling Grange, her daughter, Rachel Pooley, 74, had been living alongside her mother on the care home’s grounds.

“Mum came to sheltered housing at Eckling Grange bungalows when she was 69 and moved into the [main building of the] care home for the last ten years of her life,” said Ms Pooley.

Born in 1915 in Leeds, her early talent for the piano had gained her a diploma at 15. Her skills were such that she played the piano for services at Eckling Grange until she was 98.

Married to her husband Johnnie for 62 years, she survived him by another 20.

“She was so warm,” said Ms Pooley. “A carer would go past and she’d catch hold of their sleeve. They’d say ‘Yes, Gladys? What can I do?’ and she’d say ‘Oh, I do like you’, and it would just make their day.”

Dereham Times: Gladys Dodsworth, pictured celebrating her 104th birthdayGladys Dodsworth, pictured celebrating her 104th birthday (Image: Archant)

In a written tribute, Ms Pooley said: “Mum raised a big family in a tiny cottage with very little money and no facilities – just one cold tap in the kitchen served us all, but she had loving patience, a wonderful husband and a deep faith in God.

“Our mum was quite a character, she was great fun to be with and had a wonderful sense of humour. She was always kind, warm and caring, patient and generous. She was a darling who loved everyone. She didn’t complain or feel sorry for herself.

“We are truly grateful to the incredible staff at Eckling Grange who really loved our mum and who supported and cared for her for so many years.

“It has been a real privilege to have had such a mother for such a long time and her passing leaves an awfully big hole in so many lives.

“We take much comfort in the absolute certainty that our dear mum is safely home at last. No more suffering, sorrow or pain, just endless wonderful joy in the presence of her Lord and Saviour.”

Mrs Dodsworth’s funeral was held on July 27.