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“I really like the comfort and lack of regimentation and friendliness of the management and staff alike.”

Clevedon Resident

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  • Retire with style at The Hawthorns
  • Retire with style at The Hawthorns
  • Retire with style at The Hawthorns
  • Retire with style at The Hawthorns

Cis had the Royal Family all sewn up

ENJOYING life in the peaceful, luxurious surroundings of a Braintree retirement complex, Mrs Cis Duhy has time to reflect on an amazing 99-year life which has seen her serve the Royal Family in a rather unusual way.

Cis – or Celia if she wants to occasionally be more formal – worked from the age of 14 until she was 60 as a tailoress. Many of those years were spent working for a Savile Row establishment whose clients included the Royal Family.

“I’ve made many a pair of trousers which would have ended up at Buckingham Palace. Who knows, King George V may have worn trousers stitched by my own fair hands!” said Cis. “Occasionally, members of the Royal Family would turn up at the shop, but we were told to stay out of sight at the back of the shop.”

Cis was one of eight children – a 101-year-old sister is still alive – and lived just off Regents Park. She moved to Cambridge with her husband in 1950 but carried on working for the firm from home, still stitching trousers by hand. She later moved to Essex after her husband died and in July last year moved to The Hawthorns, Meadow Park.

“I’m very fortunate to be in good health still. I wanted somewhere I could continue to enjoy my independence but without having to worry about housework and a garden. I love it here. Everything is done for me, I’ve got lots of lovely company and I can go out on the many trips which are organised for us,” said Cis.

Her first weekly pay packet contained eight shillings and sixpence – that’s about 43p in today’s money. “My mum would give me back one and six (7p) and that was mine to spend as I wished. I lived in London throughout the blitz and on many occasions we had to take to the bomb shelter underneath the shop.”

Cis is looking forward to her 100th birthday party in August but doesn’t know yet what is being planned. However, Geraldine Channon, Events Co-ordinator at The Hawthorns, promised something special.

“We’ve not had a 100th birthday since we opened two years ago so we plan to really go to town with the celebrations. Cis is a wonderful lady, full of life, so I’m sure it will go with a swing,” said Geraldine.