Sunday, 09 August 2020

Cook celebrates 109th birthday (and is still peeling veg)

Cook celebrates 109th birthday (and is still peeling veg)

A WOMAN from Highmoor has celebrated her 109th birthday.

Kathleen Lunnon, who is known as Kit, marked her special day on Wednesday last week with a card from the Queen, flowers and a banner outside her home.

Family members visited her throughout the day for a cup of tea and to wish her “Happy Birthday” through the window.

Mrs Lunnon grew up in Kintbury in West Berkshire. She went to the village school until she was 14 when she went into service as a cook.

For one of her early jobs she lived in Unst in the Shetland Islands and cooked for the Duchess of Argyll.

For most of her career, she was a cook for the Hamilton family in Greys Hill, Henley.

She married William Lunnon, a veterinary assistant turned gardener, in 1937 at the village church in Kintbury and the couple moved to Highmoor in 1949.

Mr Lunnon, who died in 1992, aged 76, was best known for being the attendant at the Greys Road and King’s Road car parks in Henley.

The couple had four children, Val and Pat, who have passed away, David and William. Mrs Lunnon lives with William, who is her full-time carer.

She has 10 grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren and two great, great grandchildren.

Mrs Lunnon has a passion for cooking and particularly enjoys baking — her “kill me quick” cakes are famous within her family.

She has passed on her recipes to her grandchildren. She was also a keen gardener into her nineties, with a passion for roses, and a good darts player. She still knits and has made hats, mittens and booties for her grandchildren.

She and her husband used to rear a pig in their back garden for the table every year until the late Fifties.

William Lunnon, 68, said: “She dotes on the children and grandchildren and she has always got time for all of them. Unfortunately, these last two or three years, she has not understood who some of them are but with her age you can understand that. She recognised the fact it was her birthday but she gets awfully tired these days. She said ‘it’s good to see them, but it’s good to see them go!’

“Ever since my dad died people have rallied around her and she has been a game old bird because she was in her mid-nineties before she stopped doing her gardening.

“Her grandchildren always used to ask how old she was and she always used to say ‘I’m 99’. When she got to 99 she said ‘I can finally tell people the truth.”

Mr Lunnon said his mother had been isolating since the start of the coronavirus lockdown but he had been helped by his family who did the shopping and his niece, Donna Guile, cooked meals twice a week.

Mrs Guile said: “She has been there for each and every one of us. The door has always been open at any time of the day. She’s at home at that age, not in a care home, and even now she helps my uncle peel the veg for Sunday lunch.”

Another grand daughter, Victoria Lunnon, said: “She has always been there for us and is an inspiration. She’s the central point of the family.”

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