Tea party held to celebrate 100th birthday

Centenarian Sheila Dunlop with her family, from left, Jane Monro, Andrew Dunlop and Archie Dunlop at Donnington House Care Home in Chichester. Picture: Derek Martin DM17630913a
Centenarian Sheila Dunlop with her family, from left, Jane Monro, Andrew Dunlop and Archie Dunlop at Donnington House Care Home in Chichester. Picture: Derek Martin DM17630913a

Family and fellow residents celebrated the 100th birthday of Sheila Dunlop at Donnington House Care Home.

A tea party was held on Monday afternoon and Sheila received a birthday card from the Queen.

Sheila Dunlop and her husband Roy in uniform

Sheila Dunlop and her husband Roy in uniform

Sheila was born in Shillong, a hill station in India, on June 26, 1917. Her father, Lt Col Archibald Hugh Arbuthnot, was in the Gurkhas and she was the youngest of four children.

At the age of seven, Sheila was sent to boarding school, which she hated. She had to stay there until she was 16, when she took her school certificate early and passed.

Sheila was sent on a domestic science training course for a year at Brighton College, then did a secretarial course in Bognor Regis.

She spent time typing Lady Fortescue’s book There’s Rosemary, There’s Rue but by then there were rumours of war.

Sheila joined the Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment, where volunteers were known as VADs, and did six weeks’ training before she worked with the BBC.

Sheila did not like the ‘beige’ VAD, so she joined the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry and became a Fanny, driving ambulances and staff cars.

She married Major Roy Dunlop, son of Robert Dunlop, on April 9, 1942.

In 1956, she and her husband bought Meadow Cottage in Aldingbourne, where she lived for 60 years, though Roy died in 1991. Sheila has two daughters and one son, plus six grandchildren.