Nell hits a hundred

A great, great grandmother will celebrate her 100 birthday on Saturday with family and friends, but “doesn’t see what all the fuss is about”.

“I’m going out for a dance,” Ellen Bodimeade, of Valley Way, Stevenage joked, “If you get a new pair of legs for me.”

Ellen, known as Nell to those close to her, was born one of six siblings in Stonebridge, London in February 1912, or as she points out: “two months before The Titanic sank”.

She moved to Stevenage in 1967 with her childhood sweetheart and husband Sydney, following her daughter Shirley to the new town.

“It’s changed a lot since then. It’s altered for the worse. It was nice and quiet,” she said.

Now the head of five generations after Sydney died in 1996, her relations include two grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren, with another on the way.

With her family still living locally, her original Stevenage home is a hub for the family.

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There’s always someone popping in or out,” Ellen said. “They do look after me.”

Asked how she reached treble figures, she said: “I don’t know whether it’s luck or what. I’ve got a good family. They keep me young.”

Although she said she was looking forward to her party at home with all her family and friends, she added: “I don’t know what all the fuss is about – it just comes and goes.”