Champagne and music flowed as two Chesham ladies celebrated their 103rd and 100th birthdays in April.

The two women from a Chesham celebrated their big birthdays with the pomp and circumstance centennial birthdays deserve.

One of them a successful entrepreneur and the other a skilled tailor and animal lover shed light on their secret to a long life. 

Entrepreneur Lillian Mary Bourdon was born on April 22 in 1919 in the aftermath of the First World War as one of five children in London’s Shoreditch.

She moved to Essex after marrying engineer Thomas Bourdon, where she opened a fashion shop.

After moving to Mersea Island, Colchester, Mrs Bourdon opened another shop, then sold all her shops to focus on antiques.

She said: “I enjoyed going to auctions to source items for her shop.

“I was a member of the Soroptimists International, a voluntary group to transform the lives of women and girls.

“My secret to long age of 103 is living by the coast and eating lots of local shellfish.”

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The mother of one son- and aunt to many nieces and nephews - moved to Chesham Bois Manor in Chesham in November 2018.

She was serenaded to by singer Tim Corbett, as her nieces and other residents joined the 103rd bash.

The other birthday hero Gladys Constance “Dod” Burrage was born on April 16 1922 in Hammersmith, London, to a family of six children.

She left school at 14, and went on to learn dressmaking, eventually progressing to become an experienced tailor.

When the Second World War broke out, 17-year-old Mrs Burrage was called up for the war effort to make uniforms.

At the age of 20, she married an engineer called Frederick Burrage and became a home maker and looked after many dogs.

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She said: “I enjoyed travelling and cruise holidays and even lived in South Africa for five years.

“Me and my husband had a boat on River Thames and piloted a light aircraft and a holiday home on the coast.

“My secret to long life is probably in my genes, for I had a sister who lived to 99.”

On her 100th birthday, her nephew joined her at Chesham Bois Manor, which has been her home since July 2019.

Food, cake and bubbly was served, while singer Billy Patrick entertained.

Alice Palmer, Engagement Lead at Chesham Bois Manor since 2005, said: “To be so alert at 100 years and 103 years is absolutely amazing.

“Just because you are a certain age doesn’t mean you sit around and twiddle your thumbs.

“You can still join in the quizzes, proverbs and  sayings and music. 

“I get such pleasure and joy everyday I’m at work.