12:15 PM May 21, 2022
A strong, determined and tenacious care home resident has cited “ancient genes and a loving family” as the secret to a long and fulfilled life.
University of Oxford graduate Avril Powell marked her 101st birthday at Cavell Court, Cringleford, on April 26 with cake, chocolates and decorations.
She said: “I had a lovely day celebrating with my family and friends.”
Avril was born in Exeter in 1921 and was one of two children.
She went to study classics at the University of Oxford before working as a teacher.
She married husband Ray in 1942. The couple had four children: Anne, Frances, Nicky and Ted.
She later worked on the Medieval Latin Dictionary and for the Public Record Office.
The proud grandma and great-grandma moved to Norfolk more than two decades ago.
Sharing some of the most memorable moments of her life, Avril said: “I remember war breaking out in 1939 when I was 18.
“At a similar time, I met the man who would later become my husband on the train. We both were about to begin at the University of Oxford.
“Our fathers knew each other, but this was the first time we met.
“In 1942, my father’s tailor shop in Exeter was bombed. He often went out fire-watching, looking for bombs.
“Luckily, this is why he was not in his shop when it was bombed.”
Other big moments of Avril’s life include the birth of her children: “These were the greatest moments of my life,” she said.
Avril has traced her female family line back to Ashreigney in Devon.
She explained: “My ancestors were farm labourers.
“I believe they have passed on their strong genes.
“All of my cousins lived well into their 90s.”
And with no intention of slowing down, Avril has always been keen to get up to speed with modern technology.
She taught herself how to use a computer – and when the care home went into lockdown in 2020, she learned to Skype and kept in touch with her family independently.
“I always want to be the best person I can be,” she added.
And one of the most memorable things of her last 20 years of living in Norfolk? How much house prices have skyrocketed, she joked.