Surprise party for 100 year-old Lillian who has proved often enough to be full of surprises herself

ON the eve of a surprise party to celebrate her 100th birthday, Lillian Sadler sent friends into panic mood when she failed to turn up to a midweek social gathering.

After the meeting, at Mepal Village Hall, concerned villagers went round to ensure she was all right – and found her up some steps cutting her hedge.

“She was absolutely fine,” said one of her family members who told the story on Saturday at a party to celebrate Lillian’s birthday.

Many would say that’s typical of Lillian who in May, on a visit to the Horse Racing Museum in Newmarket, said she wanted to have a go on a replica racehorse she had spied.

As the Mepal village newsletter reported “without further ado she was dressed up in the Queen’s Colours, complete with cap and whip and posed for photos astride this fine beast. Lil may be nearly 100 but she is certainly not out”.

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On Saturday friends and villagers turned up at Mepal Village Hall – and the most surprised person of all was Lilian who had no idea a party had been planned in her honour.

Born in 1912 at the Gravel, in nearby Witcham, she attended Mepal School before leaving to work on the land.

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She married Leslie Sadler in 1935 at Sutton Church and the couple lived at Mepal Rectory Cottage before, in 1945, they welcomed their only child John into the world.

When John was 18 months old, the family moved to Burnt Fen in Mildenhall after Leslie was appointed farm foreman at Friezland Farm.

When Leslie died in 1969, Lillian remained in Mildenhall for a year before moving into a new house back in Mepal, where she remains to this day.

She went to work at Chivers Jams in Histon until she retired and then worked locally as the cleaner for Mepal Village Hall in her spare time.

She remains a member of the Good Companion Club and also attends the Friendship Club.

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