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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Rare event as Dorothy leaps towards her 100th birthday

Lorton woman Dorothy Robinson is 100 years old on Wednesday – but it will only be the 25th time that she has been able to celebrate.

dorothy

Mrs Robinson, who was born on February 29, 1912, only has an official birthday when there is a leap year.

When there is no leap year she celebrates on March 1, which is also her son Quentin’s birthday.

Quentin, 71, said his mother would celebrate her 100th birthday at Winder Hall, Lorton, where about 40 family and friends are due to join her for lunch, with one niece coming from South Africa.

He said that Buckingham Palace had confirmed that a card from the Queen was on its way.

Mrs Robinson was born in Durham to Arthur and Emma Wilkinson.

When she was two, the family moved to Penrith and then to Keswick.

She left school at 16 and worked as a secretary in Penrith, commuting by train from Keswick.

In Keswick she met the love of her life – South African Basil, who was visiting while doing a medical degree at Edinburgh University.

The couple married at St John’s Church, Keswick, two weeks after war broke out in September 1939.

Mr Robinson was conscripted into the Royal Air Force and flew during the Battle of Britain.

In 1945 the pair, with Quentin, moved to South Africa.

Mrs Robinson recalled: “We lived there for about five years and I worked at a land agents.”

On returning from South Africa, they moved to Whitehaven and Mr Robinson was head-hunted by Sellafield to work as an in-house dental surgeon.

The family moved to Woodlands House, Lorton, near Cockermouth, and lived there for 25 years.

Mrs Robinson added: “I love Cumbria, every stick and stone. It’s a wonderful county and Lorton is a nice village to live in.

“I must have walked every fell in Cumbria.”

The couple moved into a lodge at Winder Hall where Mrs Robinson lives now with her cat Tembi – the Zulu word for faith.

She said: “I know I am lucky. I had good parents and good friends. All you need is laughter and the love of friends.”

She is still active in the community and writes a monthly column in the St Cuthbert’s Church magazine.

Mr Robinson died in 1993 and Mrs Robinson said she wanted to be buried at St Cuthbert’s Church alongside him.

She added: “I can imagine him saying ‘what took you so long?’”

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