Good genetics and not smoking is secret to a long life says Doddington centenarian Joan Hall

Miss Joan Hall from Doddington celebrating her 100th birthday today (Monday 23rd October 2017)
Miss Joan Hall from Doddington celebrating her 100th birthday today (Monday 23rd October 2017)

At the age of 100 Joan Hall has seen in a lot of inventions in her lifetime from the rise of the motor car to man walking on the moon - but she is determined to give science a helping hand when she eventually dies.

At the age of 100 Joan Hall has seen in a lot of inventions in her lifetime from the rise of the motor car to man walking on the moon - but she is determined to give science a helping hand when she eventually dies.

“I’m leaving my body to science,” said Miss Hall, who at the age of 70 retired from Kent to the bungalow she had built in Doddington.

“It helps scientists learn how the body works, and helps train doctors, so it will be a useful thing to do - I don’t want to just go in the ground, I really don’t like the thought of that,” said the former nurse and health visitor.

Born in Loughborough in Leicestershire she spent much of her working life in Kent where she worked as a health visitor.

She survived the Blitz in London where she worked as a ward sister and was even bombed out during one air raid.

“It really was quite frightening, especially when the Doodlebugs came, you could hear the noise and then it would stop and you knew it was going to come down,” she said.

Through her long life, which she puts down to good genetics and not smoking, she has seen many innovations from inside lavatories to washing machines and of course many breakthroughs in medicine.

After the war she worked as a TB health visitor nursing people with the disease in their own homes.

“In those days it was like a death sentence, you would go into the homes to nurse someone and their family would be practically ordering the coffin. Patients used to be sent away to sanitoriums but I worked with a consultant who was willing to try nursing people at home rather than leave them to die while they waited to go into a ‘san’.

“I used to deliver the drugs, we called it chemotherapy and the patients used to have to have blood tests to make sure they weren’t becoming too toxic. What we found was the drugs prevented patients from being infectious so they couldn’t pass on the disease, which was a real breakthrough.

“But eventually we nursed ourselves out of a job because TB became almost non-exsistent and that’s when I retrained as a maternity and child health visitor,” said Miss Hall.

She celebrated her milestone birthday at her home with a visit from friends and a card from the Queen.

Unfortunately she is now housebound and was forced to give up driving two years ago, but she had had a licence since 1946 when she first became a TB health visitor - just before the NHS started.

“It is marvellous to see the inventions down the years, inside lavatories was a real welcome change, but the changes in medicine are truly marvellous. They can help so many people these days who have illnesses like diabetes when years ago they would simply have died,” concluded Miss Hall.