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Newmarket woman Heather Bond celebrates her 104th birthday at Kingfisher House Care Home

The dark shadows of war and the Covid pandemic prevented Heather Bond celebrating two of her life’s milestones, but there was no holding back on Saturday when she reached the remarkable age of 104.

Staff at Newmarket’s Kingfisher House Care Home, where Heather has lived for about six months, laid on a party with singing, dancing and cake, to entertain their oldest resident and her family and friends, who were able to enjoy a celebration Heather could not have on her 100th birthday due to Covid regulations.

Her daughter Rosemary Jones said Heather had lived independently at her home in Portland Green, in Newmarket, for more than 40 years, latterly with help from carers.

Heather Bond celebrates her 104th birthday with members of her family
Heather Bond celebrates her 104th birthday with members of her family

”She started having some falls,” said Rosemary, who is 87. “She took some convincing to begin with but then she agreed to go to Kingfisher House and has settled in well and is cared for by some lovely young people.”

Born in Exning on March 23, 1920, Heather was the daughter of stableman Archibald Cornish and his wife Mary. She was their third child and a sister to two older brothers, Ken and Archie.

The family moved to Newmarket when they took over as landlords of the Wellington Hotel, in Wellington Street, premises now occupied by Farthings dry cleaners and the Journal office, subsequently moving to the New Wellington, in Cheveley Road, in 1932 when 12-year-old Heather was a pupil at Newmarket Grammar School.

When she was 17, Heather fell pregnant, and her parents steadfastly stood by her and became surrogate parents to her baby, Rosemary.

”They virtually brought me up,” said Rosemary. “My mum and I were just like sisters and we have been like that ever since.”

While the war overshadowed her 21st birthday, Heather fell in love with Jim Stanley, a young man from Buckinghamshire, and they were engaged to be married when he was killed in June 1944 at Caen in northern France.

Heather became manager of Roe’s, the High Street jewellers, and remained single until 1951 when she married Geoff Bond and the couple took over as licensees of the New Wellington when her parents retired.

Geoff died about 40 years ago and the couple had no children together but were loving grandparents to Rosemary’s children Stuart, who sadly died young, and Maria, and Heather is now great grandmother to Maria’s son Stuart.

Rosemary said of her mother: “She was always very self-reliant, very determined and a hard worker. Someone who liked to get on and get things done.

“She once told me that the secret of her long life was ice cream, lemonade and chocolate. All things which aren’t supposed to be good for you.”