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Wartime vehicle visit adds touch of nostalgia to Janet’s big day

PUBLISHED: 17:43 15 June 2020 | UPDATED: 17:47 15 June 2020

Janet Harvey celebrates her 100th birthday with a surprise visit by a World War Two 1941 Austin K2 ambulance at Fairland House Residential Home in Attleborough, with Shaun Hindle and John Wiseman, left, from the East England Military Museum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Janet Harvey celebrates her 100th birthday with a surprise visit by a World War Two 1941 Austin K2 ambulance at Fairland House Residential Home in Attleborough, with Shaun Hindle and John Wiseman, left, from the East England Military Museum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

A former army sergeant who served during the Second World War was treated to a memorable 100th birthday celebration.

Janet Harvey celebrates her 100th birthday with a cake at Fairland House Residential Home in Attleborough. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYJanet Harvey celebrates her 100th birthday with a cake at Fairland House Residential Home in Attleborough. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Janet Harvey celebrated reaching a century yesterday at Fairland House care home in Attleborough, where she now lives.

Having grown up with her parents and three sisters in Broome, near Bungay, Ms Harvey left school at the age of 14 and went to work at the historic Clays printworks.

Janet Harvey in uniform.Janet Harvey in uniform.

She subsequently spent a short period at a company which exported rabbit snares to Australia until war broke out in 1939.

Ms Harvey immediately joined the forces and, over time, worked her way up to the rank of sergeant in the women’s branch of the British Army, the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS).

Fairland House residents outside the residential home in Attleborough, to see the World War Two 1941 Austin K2 ambulance from the East England Military Museum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFairland House residents outside the residential home in Attleborough, to see the World War Two 1941 Austin K2 ambulance from the East England Military Museum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

In recognition of her service, Fairland House organised for a wartime army ambulance to be brought up to the home from the military museum at Old Buckenham Airfield.

A representative from the Royal British Legion was also on hand to deliver her 100th birthday message from the Queen.

Janet Harvey celebrates her 100th birthday with a surprise visit by a World War Two 1941 Austin K2 ambulance at Fairland House Residential Home in Attleborough, from the East England Military Museum, and a cake. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYJanet Harvey celebrates her 100th birthday with a surprise visit by a World War Two 1941 Austin K2 ambulance at Fairland House Residential Home in Attleborough, from the East England Military Museum, and a cake. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Joanna Harper, Ms Harvey’s niece, said: “My aunt had a lovely day and I can’t thank Fairland House enough for organising it all.

Royal Marines veteran Tyrone Power salutes Janet Harvey on her 100th birthday at Fairland House Residential Home, in Attleborough. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYRoyal Marines veteran Tyrone Power salutes Janet Harvey on her 100th birthday at Fairland House Residential Home, in Attleborough. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“To have the ambulance 
visit, following her days in the army, was absolutely lovely for her.”

With war finally at an end, Ms Harvey pursued a career as a nurse in New Zealand, buying a one-way ferry ticket for £25 and training at a hospital in Wellington.

Janet Harvey ready to celebrate her 100th birthday with a visit by a World War Two 1941 ambulance at Fairland House Residential Home in Attleborough. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYJanet Harvey ready to celebrate her 100th birthday with a visit by a World War Two 1941 ambulance at Fairland House Residential Home in Attleborough. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

She spent seven years in the capital, but returned to the UK to be closer to her family.

Ms Harvey – who never married or had children – settled in London and, keen to stay in the field of nursing, became a personal assistant for renowned ballet teacher Elizabeth Twistington Higgins, who had been stricken by polio.

Janet Harvey celebrates her 100th birthday with a surprise visit by a World War Two 1941 Austin K2 ambulance at Fairland House Residential Home in Attleborough, with Shaun Hindle and John Wiseman, left, from the East England Military Museum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYJanet Harvey celebrates her 100th birthday with a surprise visit by a World War Two 1941 Austin K2 ambulance at Fairland House Residential Home in Attleborough, with Shaun Hindle and John Wiseman, left, from the East England Military Museum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The pair travelled the world together throughout the 1970s before Ms Harvey retired aged 60 in 1980.

But her selfless desire to support others remained and she spent many years volunteering for various charities, as well as at the Royal Star and Garter Home for ex-service personnel in Richmond.

Fairland House residents outside the residential home in Attleborough, to see the World War Two 1941 Austin K2 ambulance from the East England Military Museum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFairland House residents outside the residential home in Attleborough, to see the World War Two 1941 Austin K2 ambulance from the East England Military Museum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

She moved into a retirement home in London at the age of 94, before returning to Norfolk in 2016.

Mrs Harper added: “My auntie is a social creature who loves doing things for people and always makes everybody’s day.”


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