At the age of 100, Josie Woodward still finds time to tend her garden every day and can often be found playing a little Beethoven on the piano.
“Moonlight Sonata is one of my favourite pieces,” smiles Josie, who lives in Hampton Magna and celebrated her very significant birthday with a party at Hilltop Farm in Hunningham last week.
She was joined by most of her friends and relatives, including her two daughters Sue and Anita, along with their husbands Bruce Bell and Max Wilkins, seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Sadly Josie’s son Tim died of cancer in 2003.
Born in Birmingham, Josie came to Barford as a child and attended King’s High School in Warwick.
“My schooldays were happy ones and I still remember our headteacher was called Miss Doorly,” said Josie, who went on to start a small hairdressing business before getting married and moving to Rowington and then on to a house in Birmingham Road, Warwick.
The late headmistress Eleanor Doorly invited many of her successful friends to visit King’s High and is credited with setting up form and school councils - an innovative idea for girls’ schools in the 1920s.
And it was in Warwick that Josie’s late husband Harry Woodward ran his own building firm and served on the town council during the 1950s.
When she isn’t in her garden or playing the piano, Josie enjoys tapestry and doing 1,000 piece jigsaws, often with the help of one of her daughters or their family friend Linda.
“I think keeping occupied and seeing my family regularly has kept me going,” admits Josie, who has been a widow for more than half a century.
She moved to Hampton Magna 34 years ago to be closer to her daughters but has never forgotten her time in Warwick when gardening took on a whole new dimension during the Second World War.
“I only remember one bomb dropping on the town but there were machine gun emplacements running along the railway line at the end of our garden,” recalls Josie.