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Birthday milestone celebrations for sprightly Omagh centenarian

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Birthday milestone celebrations for sprightly Omagh centenarian thumbnailDoreen Russell, 1 Belvedere Park, Omagh, reading one of the many birthday cards received on the occasion of her 100th birthday yesterday (Tuesday) morning.

A SPRIGHTLY local woman with a great zest for life celebrated her 100th birthday yesterday (Tuesday) surrounded by family and friends.

Mrs Doreen Russell (nee Bruce) was born in Strabane on February 21, 1917, and grew up alongside her five siblings Douglas, Sylvia, Gilbert, Muriel and Margery.

At the age of four, Doreen joined the Girl Guides and worked her way up through the ranks of the organisation. The Girl Guides is still dear to her heart even to this day as she continues to be a member of the Trefoil Guild.

Doreen moved to England where she spent eight years working as a domestic science teacher and after returning home for a holiday, she met and fell in love with her husband Leslie.

The couple married in 1950 in Strabane Methodist Church and went on to have three children together, Sheila, Victor and Robin.

Speaking about her memories of her wedding day Doreen, who is a grandmother to eight children, said: "The Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides gave us a guard of honour because my husband was commissioner of the Boy Scouts and I was in the Girl Guides from the age of four."

Mrs Russell has proven herself to be a very talented woman with an array of interests including art, wood work and jewellery-making to name but a few.

When asked about her interests Doreen said: "I am in the Trefoil Guild which is for ex Girl Guides and we meet up once a month to keep in touch with the Girl Guides and to make money for them.

"I'm in Omagh Inner Wheel, the Gardening Society and the Floral Art Society. I did wood work as well, I went to the tech when the children were at school and they had a class where ladies could go and I made tables and a rocking horse for children. I loved working with the wood and I did pottery as well. I did oil painting, painting with water colours, painting on glass and I made paper flowers.

"I was in the Methodist Women's Group, the WI, the Red Cross and the Hard of Hearing group.

"I like cooking and making marmalades and jams. I also like gardening, everything I have in my garden I planted myself.

"I do decoupage, jewellery making and cross-stitching. I formed the Kozy Craft group for people who were interested in crafts and we met at each other's houses and did something different each time. I like to try new things."

As well as living a very active lifestyle, Doreen has also rubbed shoulders with many high profile people including former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and chief guide Lady Baden Powell.

"I worked in England for eight years and that was during the war," Doreen explained. "I was fire watching at night and I met Winston Churchill because I was invited to a party and he was there.

"I also met the chief guide, Lady Baden Powell and I was chosen to represent County Tyrone for the girl guides at Coronation Camp for King George VI." Elsewhere, Doreen believes that the secret to a long and happy life is down to "hard work. Always keep going with the young people, keep busy and don't ask yourself if you can do something, just do it."

Doreen is "looking forward" to her birthday party this weekend which will see family and friends travelling from far and wide to join in with her celebrations.

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