A FORMER member of the British Army and a well-known Hereford churchgoer was unable to celebrate her 100th birthday as planned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Norah Burge's 100th birthday might not have gone to plan, but she was able to see her loved ones on FaceTime.

Described as being a devoted aunt by her niece, Miss Burge was born in Portsmouth on May19, 1920 but moved to Bournemouth eight years later with her older sister, Olive, her parents and aunt.

"As a young woman she trained as a shorthand typist and used this skill when she was called up to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1942," her niece Brenda Laird said.

"She was billeted in Lyndhurst (in Hampshire) for a short period of training then served as a Corporal working as a secretary for a Major in 394 Searchlight Battery.

"She qualified for the Defence medal and Victory medal and was demobbed in 1946. She then worked as a secretary to the Town Clerk of Bournemouth Town Council for the next 20 years."

Miss Burge moved to Hereford in 1985 to be close to her sister and niece and was a member of Commercial Road Baptist Church and regular attendee of the Wednesday club.

Her niece added: "A family party had been planned to celebrate her 100th birthday, with nieces and nephews, their children and grandchildren travelling from Cornwall, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, London, Brighton and Scotland. Unfortunately, coronavirus prevented this happening."

Instead, she shared a quiet birthday tea with her niece and loved seeing many of the family on FaceTime calls.

"She has always been a devoted aunt to me, my sister and three brothers, as well as being a wonderful great aunt and great, great aunt to all our offspring, showing interest, kindness, patience and gentleness to us all over many years," Mrs Laird said.