WHEN Dymock resident Grace Priest was born, the First World War had been raging for less than one year; but last week she was able to enjoy her 103rd birthday at Hill Ash House care home, with staff, family and friends.

Mrs Priest was born in Enfield, Middlesex, on February 8, 1915.

During the Second World War, she worked in London in the office of an import and export company until it was blown up by a German bomb.

She was late for work, fortunately, and so escaped injury.

Then she worked at a small arms factory outside London. Mrs Priest met her husband Bert on a trip to Switzerland with her school friend Doris; they married in 1941.

She devoted her life to bringing up her family: daughters Catherine and Elizabeth were born while the couple were living in Leverstock Green, Hemel Hempstead, running the Post Office and shop.

Son Richard arrived when they were living in Polruan, Cornwall.

Then all the family moved to Wickhamford, near Broadway, where they had an orchard and market garden, subsequently moving to Cleeve Prior, Worcestershire, where they remained for 25 years.

On Bert’s retirement they moved to Wincanton, Somerset, but moved to Newent and then to Highnam to be near their children and grandchildren. They lived here for 22 years.

A Hill Ash spokesman said: "Grace has always led an active life and kept herself fit by gardening and going for long walks. She has always loved travelling and visited many different countries, including Spain, France, Canada, Italy, she painted pictures both in watercolour and oils as reminders of where she's been.

"Grace has five grandchildren, and nine great grandchildren. Grace came to live at Hill Ash House Care Centre in Dymock in 2006 and enjoys playing bingo and musical events, and going on outings to the local garden centre for coffee and cake."