MAYOR Colin Belsey turned out to wish happy birthday to centenarian Kay Paddon.

Kay was born and brought up in Dulwich and had four younger siblings – two of whom are still alive, including Freda, who attended Kay's party.

Kay was a very active child and enjoyed playing 'boys' games with her father, and being trained by him to take part in walking races.

Her father was a well-known winner of the annual London to Brighton walk, but this was not considered a suitable activity for young ladies at the time.

Kay has sadly lost three husbands in her life and has been a widow for many years, but she cherishes many happy memories of married life.

One husband was in the clothing business so Kay became a model in Paris.

Later she used her book-keeping skills to support her third husband Brian Paddon DSO (formerly a group captain in the RAF) in his business in Rhodesia.

During the war, Paddy was captured and imprisoned in Colditz.

He made two attempts to break out and finally escaped the Germans when he was returned to his previous POW camp – making it back to England via Sweden.

After some years in Rhodesia, Kay decided to she had leave because of the situation and moved from Nyanga to Braedasdorp in South Africa where she rented a little house on a farm.

She also spent eight years living in Spain and even in her early 90s she was still travelling, spending her winters with old friends in South Africa and several weeks each year in England visiting her sisters.

Finding it increasingly difficult to look after herself in Spain and having had a slight stroke, the British Legion assisted Kay in her return home to England – first to a home in Bexhill and then to Shalom in Eastbourne.

Earlier this year Kay was admitted to the DGH after breaking her hip and the staff were amazed she did not take any medication at the age of 99.

Marriage to Paddy made Kay step-mother to three girls – one of whom, Wendy Burr, came all the way from her home in Australia to join other family members for Kay's birthday celebration.

"As her friend of many years (I met her on holiday in India) I can say Kay is one special lady who is much loved by those around her and I am delighted to be able to be with her to celebrate her 100th birthday," said her friend Jean Parfitt.