A Cambridgeshire woman received a big surprise to mark her 100th birthday.

Not wanting Connie's milestone to pass by without a big celebration, Ramsey community warden, Sara Matthews, organised a party for Connie at the Ramsey Senior Lunch Club.

It was a group effort: the cake was made by another warden service user’s daughter, cupcakes donated by another, and one of Connie’s daughters and granddaughter, pretending to take her shopping, brought her along to the surprise event.

Sara also wanted to collect 100 birthday cards for Connie and decided to put a call out to Age UK CAP staff and in the local Spotted In Ramsey magazine.

Peterborough Matters: Connie's birthday party

The response was amazing, and she received 193 cards - including from the junior school, the Mayor of Ramsey, and an outpouring of cards from local residents.

Connie, who has lived in Ramsey all her life, regularly reminisces about the local area, how it has changed, and contentedly reflects on her memories, said: “This has all been such a wonderful surprise and amazing.

“I can’t remember another birthday where I’ve had so much fun and excitement.

“People have been so kind, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everything.”

Born in January 1924 in one of a row of houses near the Bluebell Public House at the top of Hollow Road on the Forty Foot Bridge at Ramsey, Connie was the youngest of three siblings.

She attended Forty Foot School and was said to be the brightest child in school, appearing in the Sunday Express, aged seven, when her headteacher, Mr Willis, wrote to the paper about how some of the children he taught were “exceptional”.

Connie would have liked to attend grammar school, but her parents couldn’t afford it, so she had to leave education at the age of 14.

Connie kept her connections with the school, helping to clean it every day with her mum, after work, until it closed.

Connie also used to help clean St Felix Church until it was demolished to make way for the new village hall.

Connie went to work on the land for various local farmers from singling sugar beet, riddling potatoes and onions, picking strawberries, raspberries, and daffodils.

It was very hard work, but she made a lifetime of friends. She still likes to have her ‘dockey’ (a snack) at 10.30 am!

Connie liked to spend her spare time cycling with friends to surrounding towns such as Peterborough, March, and St Ives.

“There were fewer cars, and everyone was so friendly,” she said.

Connie moved with her family to her current home in the village in 1938.

One evening, she went to the Grand Cinema in Ramsey and a lad accidently caught the back of her heel on the stairs.

Tis is how she met Frank who was stationed at RAF Upwood. The couple wed in 1941, when she was 17. Only a few weeks later, Frank was sent to Egypt by the RAF, and they spent four years apart.

During World War II, Connie helped the British Red Cross, passing all the exams. On Frank’s return, they settled in at Ramsey Forty Foot and raised four children.

Connie continued to do land work around bringing up the children and was a lunch-time helper at Ramsey Spinning Infants, Ramsey Abbey and Ailwyn Schools.

Connie was known locally being involved with many organisations, to include WI, Royal British Legion, and on the committee for both the old and new Forty Foot Village Hall.

She and Frank loved ballroom dancing and also enjoyed indoor and outdoor bowls, playing competitively across the district.

Connie still keeps her mind active doing a daily wordsearch and reads at least nine library books a month.

She likes to keep up to date with what’s going on in the world by reading the papers and watching the news on TV.

She also often helps her grandchildren and now great grandchildren with their homework.

Connie has six grandchildren and nine great grandchildren who she says keep her young.

Connie says that she’s had a lovely life and is very contented to be at home.

Peterborough Matters: Connie with Sara

Peterborough Matters: Connie's 100th birthday cake

Peterborough Matters: Connie's birthday card from King Charles