Landmark day for ‘generous and thoughtful’ Annie of Holbeach at 100

Annie Limming (front second left) celebrates her 100th birthday with staff at Holbeach Hospital, (back) Sue Simms, Liz Power, Chris Congreve, Wendy Parrish, Anne Dickson, Sophie Howard, (front) manager Maxine Winch, Mandy Secker and Maureen Sharman.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
Annie Limming (front second left) celebrates her 100th birthday with staff at Holbeach Hospital, (back) Sue Simms, Liz Power, Chris Congreve, Wendy Parrish, Anne Dickson, Sophie Howard, (front) manager Maxine Winch, Mandy Secker and Maureen Sharman. Photo by Tim Wilson.
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Annie Limming with daughters Jacqueline Ewers and Rosemary Limming. (SG230216-104TW)

The mum-of-three is taking her time to mark the milestone as small groups of family members and friends come to visit her at Holbeach Hospital.

Mum was always extremely kind and thoughtful, always very generous with her time and helpful to other people

Patrick Limming of J.W. Limming Pet and Garden Supplies, Fleet Street, Holbeach

Annie, who turned 100 yesterday, was a familiar face to shoppers at J.W. Limming pet and garden supplies in Fleet Street, Holbeach, from the day it was opened by her late husband Jack in 1960 until her retirement about 25 years later.

Jack and Annie were married for almost 40 years until his death in 1977, but Annie still had her three children, two grandchildren and a great-grandchild with whom to share her special day.

Patrick Limming, Annie’s only son, said: “For years, Mum has always celebrated her birthday on February 23 and 24 because she was born at midnight.

“But we dug out her documents, including her passport, and we were able to settle on February 24 as her birthday.

“Mum didn’t want a big group of people at her side all at once because it takes her a while to remember people.

“So we’ve pinched an idea from my wife’s side of the family, who are Dutch, by inviting family and friends to visit her in small groups over the month.”

Annie was born in Holbeach St Johns where she lived until she married Jack at the age of 21.

During and after World War II, Annie worked as a nurse in hospitals across the country until Jack opened J.W, Limming when he converted the couple’s living room into a shop for farmers and growers in Holbeach.

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Patrick said: “Mum eventually retired and moved into a bungalow in Holbeach where she lived until about seven years ago when she moved into Holbeach Hospital which Mum considers to be very much her home.”

Fittingly, staff at the hospital put on a 100th birthday party yesterday for Annie who was joined by her close family and friends from both the hospital’s chapel and All Saints Church, Holbeach.

Patrick said: “Mum was always extremely kind and thoughtful, volunteering for St John Ambulance and at Holbeach Hospital for many years.

“She’s always been very generous with her time and helpful to other people.”

Annie Limming was born into a farming family at midnight on Thursday, February 24 1916, the youngest of five children living in Holbeach St Johns.

At the time of her birth, George V was King, Herbert Asquith was Prime Minister, conscription was introduced for both married and unmarried men aged 18 to 41 and the Easter Rising of 1916 paved the way for the Republic of Ireland to be established six years later.

It was on the farm that Annie “developed the ethos of hard work which she carried on throughout her life”, according to Holbeach Hospital manager Maxine Winch.

She said: “Annie has always been of slight build but that never held her back and when her husband Jack Limming went off to war, Annie began nursing in Chesterfield (before) a spell in Wales.

“She was an active member of her local church and particularly enjoyed during the flower displays.”

Annie and Jack worked together at J.W. Limming in Fleet Street, Holbeach, until his death in 1977 when Annie carried on “just to ensure that her son Patrick was doing things the right way,” Maxine said.

“Annie has chosen to spend her final years at Holbeach Hospital where she enjoys playing cards, sometimes cheating although Annie reckons that she doesn’t.

“She also enjoys her sweets and her flowers which she always has on her table.

“Annie sits by the door where she doesn’t miss much while being very friendly and quite a character.

“She’s developed quite a friendship with the lady who sits next too her and Annie has been beaming from ear to ear about her birthday.”

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