‘Much loved’ Topsy celebrates 105th birthday

Topsy Hindley turned 105 and was joined by members of her family.

Topsy Hindley turned 105 and was joined by members of her family. - Credit: Archant

Friends and family of a ‘much loved’ Sidmouth woman have helped her to celebrate her 105th birthday in style.

Topsy Hindley through the years.

Topsy Hindley through the years. - Credit: Archant

Admirers of Gertrude ‘Topsy’ Hindley raised a glass to mark her birthday on May 25 where she received a card from the Queen.

Samantha Evens, registered manager at Arcot House, also wrote to Heinz to tell them of Topsy’s love of tomato ketchup which she likes to have on her meals.

The company sent Topsy a birthday card and personalised ketchup bottle.

Dog lover Topsy says she just keeps ‘going on and on’ after moving to Sidmouth when she was 11.

Topsy Hindley through the years.

Topsy Hindley through the years. - Credit: Archant


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The youngest of four she moved to the town to look after her grandmother, mother and father. She lived in the 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 help founded the Animal Rescue Centre in 1972.

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

Her nephew Richard Hindley said the family were ‘absolutely delighted’ to see Topsy reach an ‘amazing age’.

Topsy Hindley through the years.

Topsy Hindley through the years. - Credit: Archant

He said: “She is a much loved and highly respected member of the family. She has always been much more interested in people and pets than materialistic things. Her home was ‘open house’ to the family as well as stray dogs and people’s pets until she was well into her 90’s.”

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.

Michelle Tisbury, senior carer at Arcot House, said: “Topsy says she never married because she was too busy. She certainly has a lot of admirers at Arcot. She is very much respected and loved by staff and residents alike.”

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