Celebrations for 'special soul' Eva who turns 100 today

Eva Reeve is a tonic.

Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 7:30 pm
Eva, 100, pictured with her birthday card from the Queen today at her care home. Picture by Kirsty Edmonds.

She sits in her chair waving to the nursing staff at her care home in Southfields and sticks her tongue out for pictures taken by the newspaper. At 100-years-young, she has not lost her sense of humour.

Her youngest daughter Jan Skelton said she has always liked having the same initials as the Queen. She even had 'ER' put on the wall in her former bedroom at Jan's house and they mocked up a ribbon cutting ceremony for her to declare it 'open'.

Today is a day like no other for Eva. Not only has she received her birthday message from the Queen but the former British Army cook also received a commanding officers coin from the Third Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment this afternoon, given to soldiers displaying the 'ethos' of the regiment.

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Jan Skelton, Eva Reeve and Linda Smith.

Her daughter Jan said: "When she heard that there was going to be a war, she lived in Norwich where she volunteerd, and then signed up with her friend in 1939.

"She was in the Royal Norfolks, her job, as I understand, was in the cook house."

Eva was in the Auxiliary Territorial Service - the women's branch of the British Army during the Second World War where she was first based in Essex.

For some of the war, and when her dad was dying, she was allowed to return to her home county of Norfolk, on compassionate leave, where she was based at the Britannia barracks in Norwich before spending a further 18 months cooking at Cliftonville Hotel in Cromer.

Eva pictured in her twenties.

Eva used to cook for 1,500 men at each sitting and packed up food - as part of soliders' haversack rations - for the troops going to war by train.

She remained in the Army until the end of the Second World War where she was incidentally demobbed in Clare Street drill hall, in Northampton, in 1945.

Jan added: "Mum loved her years in the Army and said it was the best days of her life.

"She has told me many good stories of her time with her comrades.

"She said if the war had gone on forever it woudn't have mattered to her.

"She said she wished she was a boy as she would have continued in there because she loved her troops."

When the war ended the mum-of-two joined the British Red Cross and achieved the position of junior commandant.

Even now, Eva still watches every armistice service and always salutes as she remembers their sacrifice.

The 100-year-old has always been a caring person, her daughters said.

In her later life, she cared for the blind and worked at a residential home until she retired at 60. Eva came to Northampton in her 80s to be cared for by her daughter.

Her eldest daughter, Linda, added: "It's a blessing to still have our mum.

"It is a privilege and we are so lucky because a lot of people don't have their mother at this age.

"She is a special soul and she is really witty, she has a good sense of humour. She was thrilled to see the card from the Queen today."

Jan said: "She's had good heath all of her life. The care here at this home, and the staff, are amazing. There is always warmth here."