Former nurse surprised with hundreds of cards on her 104th birthday

Video report from ITV News Meridian's Will Walters

Former nurse Doreen Beaven, from Hayling Island, has been celebrating her 104th birthday.

It was made even more special as she was joined by her family at her care home, who weren't able to be there last year.

Staff at the Wimborne Care Home made an appeal on social media and the cards flooded in, with more than 300 arriving from all around the world.

Doreen's cards decorated the sides of her birthday marquee. Credit: ITV News Meridian

When asked if she was surprised that she'd received so many cards she replied: "What do you think? Mind you, I usually get a lot".

Doreen had a life-long career as a nurse, even tending to the wounded of Dunkirk in the second world war. 

She recited many tales of the gory scenes she faced as a trainee nurse in a Dartford hospital during this time. However, she wouldn't change it, as all she ever wanted to be was a nurse.

Doreen in her nursing years. Credit: ITV News Meridian

She said: "That's all I wanted to do. Even as a little child they'd make me paper hats with a red cross on".

With the family being apart for the past year this birthday feels extra special for them all.

Her daughter, Gillian, said: "It was very distressing for her, but as soon as we got back to visiting and she has friends who come and visit as well. She's a popular person".

  • Doreen shares her secret to a long and happy life

When asked what the secret was to a long and happy life, Doreen said: "I've just been living my life, being friends with everybody. And having lots of boyfriends".

"I sometimes ran two at a time".

Doreen was then asked what her favourite decade was. She said: "Well I suppose... I don't know. I had more miserable ones than happy ones".

She started to chuckle to herself when her daughter, Gillian, asked: "You had enough mum?".

"Yes" she said. She then raises her glass with her family to another year in a long and remarkable life.