Sidmouth woman celebrates 104th birthday

Arcot House resident, Topsy Hindley, celebrates her 104th birthday. Ref shs 21-16AW 8404. Picture: A

Arcot House resident, Topsy Hindley, celebrates her 104th birthday. Ref shs 21-16AW 8404. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

‘Remarkable’ Topsy celebrates the milestone with a cream tea and chocolate cake.

Friends and family of a Sidmouth ‘independent woman’ have helped her to celebrate her 104th birthday in style.

Admirers of Gertrude ‘Topsy’ Hindley have described her as a ‘remarkable’ woman at a special birthday party on Wednesday.

Topsy hit the headlines last year when she told the Herald that she had never owned a television. Instead, the 104-year-old played an instrumental part in setting up the Animal Rescue Centre (ARC) and would often have up to eight dogs living with her.

Her nephew Richard said: “She is perhaps best known in Sidmouth for her great love of dogs and could be seen exercising the dogs she was boarding in and around the town – sometimes taking as many as six at a time, all on leads, and all under strict control.

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“When visiting her home for a family holiday, it was no surprise to find that she had seven or eight dogs in her charge. She is much loved and admired as a remarkable lady by her family and all who know her.”

He added that a long and busy life ran in the family as her father Charles lived to 100 after being advised to move to Sidmouth for his health.

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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.

The youngest of four siblings, she stayed in the town to look after her grandmother, mother and father and lived in the family home for 92 years, until she moved to Arcot House last February.

Staff at the Arcot Gardens care home organised a special cream tea and chocolates to mark the milestone.

Samantha Evens, registered manager of Arcot House, said: “Topsy is exceptional at whatever she does. She is independent for her age and it’s lovely to have her as part of the Arcot House family.

“She does not need any medication and she believes that just being herself and being an independent woman has helped her get to this age.”

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