The celebration candles have been burning brightly in Hemel Hempstead this week to mark not one, but two, 100th birthdays.
Dalga Marion Winwood, nee Welch, lifelong love of salad, fresh fruit and vegetables together with embracing self-sufficiency is attributed with helping her reach that remarkable milestone.
But Dalga might have never been born at all if her father Charlie Welch had not turned down a job as a chef on board the ill-fated Titanic.
Instead he took a post on a ship called Dalga and when his wife Hannah gave birth to a girl on January 18, 1914, they named her in the vessel’s honour.
As a child sporty Dalga would spend her pocket money on bunches of watercress instead of sweets and although her teachers did not officially enter her for her school exams, she sat them for fun and scored top marks.
During her teenage years she moved to Skegness where she worked in her father Charlie Welch’s various eating establishments including a posh fish and chip cafe.
Here she learned everything from book-keeping to cooking.
One day a stranger knocked on the Welch family’s door and asked to borrow their generator – he needed electricity to start up his new fairground.
It was a great success and grateful owner Billy Butlin always allowed Dalga and her friends to have free rides.
Later Billy set up the first of his UK-wide famous family holiday camps in Skegness.
Dalga and her mother later moved back to Southampton where she worked as a commercial artist.
One of her most enduring designs was the label for Trout Hall Grapefruit which appeared on the tins for many years.
Delga later married her first husband Stanley Hearl but sadly he suffered from tuberculosis and passed away shortly after the couple wed.
It was while working as a dental nurse that she met her second husband John Winwood –they married in London during the Second World War and celebrated with a glass of beer and a sandwich in the nearby pub.
The couple practiced dentistry in London throughout the war and just before the end of the conflict their eldest daughter Jane was born.
Keen jazz musician John had to pawn his violin to pay for Dalga’s visit to hospital and when the NHS was established he was a keen supporter and worked mainly as a dentist under the free health system.
Four years later, in December 1949, their second daughter Jacqueline arrived.
The family, plus Dalga’s mother Hannah, moved from London and eventually settled in a Bovingdon home that had plenty of Dalga’s biggest passion – gardening.
Dalga, also known as Bomma, became close friends Lawrence and Cherry Hill, the founders of Henry Doubleday Research Association, and conducted organic growing experiments.
She embraced a life of self-sufficiency, recycling and organic techniques long before these ideas were well-known or popular.
As well as growing her own fruit and vegetables, she kept chickens, bantams, pheasants, guinea fowl and quails and was also a keen beekeeper, despite being allergic,
The forward thinking trendsetter now has a more relaxed life at High View Lodge in Hemel Hempstead, where she has lived since her husband John passed away in 2005.
Norwegian-born Grete Barker turned 100 in Hemel Hempstead’s The Lodge care home on Friday, surrounded by family and friends who had travelled to be with her from as far as the USA.
The centenarian moved from her home country to the UK to learn English shortly before the Second World War.
When the conflict broke out, Grete decided to stay in England and even served in the British army, where she met the man who later became her husband.
Her granddaughter Karen Barker said: “She had a lovely birthday. My sister came over from America to be with her and she saw some friends she hadn’t seen in a long time.
“I think the rest of us were more excited about the telegram from the Queen than she was, but she enjoyed all the fuss. She’s a bit frailer now but she is doing pretty well – people always comment on how young she looks.”