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Doreen and Margaret celebrate a double century

As seen in The Times on the Coast, January 22, 2021

There was much fanfare and celebration (in a COVID safe manner) at Estia Health Encounter Bay last Wednesday, as two much-loved residents each celebrated their 100th birthday.

Doreen Arnold and Margaret Littlewood toasted to two hundred years and enjoyed champagne and cake, much to the delight of fellow residents and staff members at the aged care facility.

Both ladies were beaming with smiles and the festive atmosphere was palpable, given the tough time residents have recently endured due to strict COVID-19 measures.

Both Doreen and Margaret received letters and presents from family and friends, and short biographies of their interesting lives were presented to those in attendance.

Doreen Selma Arnold (nee Frahn)

Doreen was born on January 24, 1921 and lived at Monarto, now known for the Frahn's Farm and Monarto Zoo site.

She was the second youngest child and had nine brothers.

Doreen walked five miles to school each day, but by Grade 7 was back at home helping her mother look after the farm, as several of her brothers had served during the war.

At age 24, Doreen married Arthur Reginald Arnold, a farmer from Loxton.

The couple then moved to Mannum and opened a fruit and veg shop and later, a draper shop.

The highlights of Doreen's life are her three children Fay, Trevor and Cheryl.

Doreen loves gardening, cooking, sewing and helping and spending time with friends and family.

Doreen and Arthur were also travel enthusiasts who ventured overseas to the UK and Europe and loved to travel around Australia in their caravan.

Doreen lived in the Victor Harbor Lutheran Village for more than 30 years.

Margaret Littlewood (nee Hill)

Margaret was born on January 20, 1921 in Woking, Surrey, England.

She spent her early days caring for her disabled mother and loved being involved in ballroom dancing and gymnastics in her spare time.

When the Second World War broke out, Margaret worked making parachutes out of silk. With the off cuts she hand sewed herself a nightie which she still has today.

She also worked at Vickers-Armstrong repairing Wellington Bombers after the planes had returned from missions.

In 1940, the factory was bombed and Margaret was injured and classified as missing.

Her parents were told she had been killed, but the next morning Margaret rolled through the door with bandages covering her head and face, almost giving her mother a heart attack.

She went on to work at a number of airfields and during one such job, was crossing a runway when she became the target of a German fighter plane. The pilot began firing and Margaret had to throw herself to the ground, miraculously surviving a hail of bullets which landed within inches of her.

In 1948, Margaret married Albert Littlewood and they had a daughter named Hazel, who now resides in Goolwa near her mother.

As a family, the three Littlewoods set sail aboard the Queen Mary in 1952, bound for New York to start a new life.

They resided there for three years until unfortunately, family circumstances saw them return to England.

Six years later in 1958, they emigrated to Australia. They were ineligible for the migrant 10 pound scheme, as Albert was carrying injuries from a motorcycle accident that he obtained during the Second World War while serving as a dispatch rider for the War Office.

The family gathered together every penny they could and self-funded their travel to Australia, dreaming of a new life.

They settled in Adelaide and bought an old house on North Terrace. They set about making it their home which was a tough job at first.

Margaret started a boarding house business, which she ran well. Her spare time was spent redecorating and transforming the home and outbuildings to accommodate more persons.

Later, the family bought many more houses, which they renovated and redecorated before moving on.

Eventually upon their retirement, Margaret and Albert travelled around country South Australia. Albert's war-time injures made walking difficult, so their frequent country drives brightened up their lives.

Albert sadly passed away in 1995. Since then, Margaret has moved home three times, before settling in Goolwa.

She reflects on a life well lived and looks back fondly on travels to various countries around the world, having taken cruises throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas.

For many years Margaret has been a fond participant of Tai Chi, ceramics, knitting and sewing.

She has three grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

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