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Orbit customer of 23 years celebrates her 101st birthday with a socially distanced gathering!

Dorothy Mitchel, an Orbit customer of 23 years, has celebrated her 101st birthday at St. Marks Court in Rugby.

Dorothy Mitchel, an Orbit customer of 23 years, has celebrated her 101st birthday at St. Marks Court in Rugby.

To celebrate her milestone birthday, Orbit presented Dorothy, known as Dee, with a cake and arranged a socially distanced gathering with other residents. Dee has lived at St. Marks Court, one of Orbit’s Independent Living Scheme, since 1997.

Talking about reaching her milestone birthday, Dee said: “I never thought I would be celebrating my 101st birthday. I feel spoilt by Orbit and everyone at St. Marks Court. Hopefully next year, when I am 102, we can celebrate without social distancing!”

Lisa Hughes, Scheme Manager at Orbit’s St. Marks Court added: “One of the best things about working at Orbit is hearing the stories our customers tell us about their lives. Doing her bit for the war effort and then working in Whitehall makes her even more special in our eyes and we are so happy that she was able to celebrate being 101 – even if it was socially distanced. Hopefully we can make up for that soon.”

The oldest of four children, Dee was born on 1st July 1919 and raised in Eastbourne, Sussex.

When Dee was in her early twenties, she was sent to work in a munition factory in London as part of the World War Two war effort. Dee was one of around 950,000 British women who were sent to work in munitions factories and her job as a Centre Lathe Turner meant she operated heavy machinery, making parts for engines.

While working in the London factory, Dee lodged with a lady called Ruby. Ruby then introduced Dee to her brother, John, who was home on leave from the Army. The pair started courting and then were married in 1943. After the war had ended, they settled in Clapham, London and had a daughter, Joan.

Dee later worked as a Clerical Officer at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, until her retirement in 1979. In October 1997, Dee moved to St. Marks Court in Rugby, to be closer to her family. Dee now has two grandsons and five great-grandchildren who all live in the local area.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, Dee was unable to celebrate with her family. She hopes to make up for lost time with her family as soon as she is able!