Marking her 100th birthday with some cake and champagne

Mary with her cake, cards and flowers

Mary with her cake, cards and flowers

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A former nurse for Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps celebrated her 100th birthday with her family on Sunday.

Eva Copeland, known as Mary, celebrated the milestone with cake and champagne at her nursing home in Norfolk.

Mary with her husband when he was the Mayor of Luton

Mary with her husband when he was the Mayor of Luton

She moved to Walcott Hall from Luton three years ago to be closer to her family.

Mary was married to William Copeland who was Mayor of Luton in 1978 and 1979. They met when she joined the services.

Her niece Margaret Hilditch was at the nursing home with her on Sunday. She said: “My aunt enjoyed her afternoon and got lots of cards and flowers.

“The staff of the nursing home came in and sang Happy Birthday to her, and attached a Hundred Today banner in her room.

“We all had a little bit of champagne, opened for her by the matron, and some rich chocolate cake.

“I think she is glad we did make an effort to do something for her, it was lovely that the nurses at the home decorated her room and sang to her.

“She had phone calls from family members from across the world and lots of cards from her Luton friends and a card from the Queen.

“She was delighted with the bouquets she received and the cards, the card from the Queen was a source of pleasure, she has always been a firm traditionalist and a supporter of the royal family.

“Equally, she was pleased with the special arrangements made by the staff for her, with the cake, champagne and them singing to her.

“She has always said how good the staff are they go the extra steps to ensure that special events like birthdays are celebrated.

Mary trained as a nurse with Queen Alexander’s Royal Army Nursing Corps and served in France and the Far East, before she settled down with William and had a son, Richard.

Margaret said: “My aunt moved to the nursing home a few years ago and it means we can visit her more.

“Luton was the place where her married life and motherhood took place, where she fulfilled extremely well the office of Mayoress and the enjoyed the Townswomen’s Guild and her place in it. She hoped to end her days in Old Bedford Road, her home for over 50 years, but the loss of her capacity for independence made her anxious to be close to us, she still misses all her Luton friends.”

Mary’s late husband William Copeland served as a Conservative councillor from Luton from May 1969 to May 1987.

She has three nieces, one nephew, a handful of great nieces, nephews and great great nieces and nephews.