Forever friends Vera and Dorothy turn 100
PUBLISHED: 07:02 09 January 2016
Childhood friends Vera Anstis and Dorothy Gaut have both celebrated their 100th birthday - and are looking ahead to nearly a century of companionship.
The pair forged a lifelong bond when Dorothy moved nextdoor to Vera as peace broke out after World War One, 98 years ago.
Their connection has survived another global conflict, moving miles apart, and all the highs and lows that life would throw at them.
The duo hit the national headlines in 2008 as ‘Britain’s oldest friends’ when they marked 90 years together. And after another seven years, their record will be hard to beat.
They have long been in sync.
Both were born in 1915 and attended Sidbury School.
Both were in cookery classes in the 1920s and both were married in 1939 – Vera to Frank Turner and Dorothy to Peter Luxton.
And when she wrote of her pregnancy, Vera revealed that she too was expecting. Their first children were born within eight days of each other.
Dorothy and Peter moved away from Sidbury and lived in a number of places close to his workplace, while Vera moved the short distance to Sidmouth and ran Anstis, the Woolbrook butcher’s shop, with Frank. They retired in 1967.
Vera’s son Bob said her longevity may be because she never smoked or drank much, and until recently walked miles and miles.
Most of her family still live in the town and Bob and his brothers, Roy and Steve, drop into her Barn Hayes home on a daily basis.
Now 100, both women are widowed, but are the heads of large families. Along with her three sons, Vera has five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Dorothy has three daughters, seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
They still see each other frequently. Dorothy was with her daughter when Vera celebrated becoming a centenarian with some 30 family and friends on Boxing Day, but they reunited the following day.
Dorothy marked her 100th birthday in February.