‘No regrets’ help keen poet Marjorie reach 102

Marjorie Hodnett celebrates her 102nd birthday at Abbeyfield Court by planting a rose. Ref shs 13-1

Marjorie Hodnett celebrates her 102nd birthday at Abbeyfield Court by planting a rose. Ref shs 13-16AW 2518. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

The secret to a long and happy life is to ‘look forward with hope, not back with regret,’ says 102-year-old Marjorie Hodnett.

Marjorie, the fifth centenarian in her family, celebrated her birthday last Friday (April 1) by planting a special rose bush in the gardens of Abbeyfield Court, in Station Road, where she lives.

Born in London in 1914, Marjorie was a teacher before she moved to the Sid Valley in 1956 to work at All Saints Primary School.

Despite being twice widowed by the time she was 45, Marjorie said the advice she would offer others was to ‘always look forward to the future’.

“Look forward with hope, not back with regret,” she added. “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can, for as long as you can and learn to accept other people’s help when you get old.”


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Marjorie said her first husband Stanley’s last wish was for her to move to the Sidbury area, where they owned a holiday home.

The couple had dreamt of building their own house, and had even bought a plot next to their holiday property to do this, but before this dream could be made a reality Stanley died. Finding love again three years later, Marjorie married Hayden – who was Stanley’s brother.

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The new couple planned to move into Marjorie’s new home once it was complete, but fate intervened again when Hayden suffered a heart attack. He died just two weeks before they were due to move into the new home.

For her birthday, Marjorie has been paid special visits by her cousin’s son and daughter, as well as by her nephew, who travelled nearly 6,000 miles from Thailand to mark the big occasion.

Marjorie is still very active and a keen poet. She is even releasing a book of poems about what she can see through her window - A Sidways Glance at the Sidmouth Valley, People, Places and Events – which will be released later this year.

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