Happy 108th birthday Topsy!

PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 May 2020

Topsy really enjoys watching dog videos on the iPad. Picture: Arcot House

Topsy really enjoys watching dog videos on the iPad. Picture: Arcot House


The founder of an Ottery animal charity has celebrated her 108th birthday.

Topsy is well known for her love of animals. Picture: Arcot House Topsy is well known for her love of animals. Picture: Arcot House

Gertrude ‘Topsy’ Hindley is fondly known for setting up the Sidmouth Animal Welfare and Animal Rescue Centre, now known as ARC in 1972.

Topsy was the youngest of four when she moved to the town to look after her grandmother, with her mother and father.

She lived in her family home for 92 years, moving to Arcot House when she was 102.

In 2015, Topsy hit the national headlines when she told the Herald that she had never owned a television opting to look after dogs instead and running her charity ARC.

She always maintained that the secret to her long life was that she’s never watched television.

She previously told the paper, “I never thought of it as a charity, I just couldn’t bear to see them [the dogs] neglected.”

Her father Charles lived to 100 after being advised to move to Sidmouth for his health.

As a young girl, Topsy pursued a love of music, playing the viola in the Sidmouth Orchestra.

She was taught by renowned conductor and musician Clifford Brown.

Samantha Evens, the senior and registered manager at Arcot, said: “Topsy is an amazing lady and is a big part of the Arcot family.

“We are all wishing her a big happy 108th birthday and will be celebrating this with tea and cake in the garden while social distancing with her second family.”

Samantha said Topsy has never been one to like or use technology, not even a TV, but now she has really taken to watching video clips of her favourite animals - dogs.

One of Topsy on a Ipad watching Animals, her favourite is dogs.

Topsy also spends her time reading her postcards and letters she receives from her family and friends.

Topsy then chooses what ones she likes to put on display and communicate with the staff.

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