Full peal of bells for Worthing centenarian

Centenarian Gwendoline Kippin with her card from the Queen. Photo by Derek Martin DM1884172a
Centenarian Gwendoline Kippin with her card from the Queen. Photo by Derek Martin DM1884172a

A full peal of ten church bells was rung for Gwendoline Kippin to celebrate her 100th birthday.

Born in Beddington, Surrey, on August 24, 1918, she was a bellringer at St Mary’s Church, in Beddington Park, for many years, along with several members of her family.

The peal, which took more than three hours, was organised by Chris Kippin, a lead bellringer.

Gwendoline said she first became involved because her brother was the steeple keeper and she carried on until she could no longer manage the stairs to the tower.

Gwendoline now lives with her sister Joyce Weal, 98, and niece Karina Arthur in Terringes Avenue, Worthing.

She received cards from the Queen, the mayor of Worthing and the mayor of London for her birthday, as well as a card from the current Beddington bellringers.

There was a party with friends and family and Gwendoline tucked into fish and chips, her favourite meal.

Gwendoline was brought up in Guy Road, Beddington, and was one of nine children, five of them girls and four boys.

When The Crystal Palace went up in flames on November 30, 1936, they could see the fire from the end of their road.

Gwendoline recalled: “We sat on the wall and watched.”

She worked as a telegraphist for the GPO and during the Second World War, spent time in the Women’s Land Army.

Karina said Gwendoline had always loved walking on the Downs with Joyce and their other sister Ruby, who lives in Hastings. They went up to the hills until they were well into their 90s and Corrina believes they were the oldest siblings walking on the South Downs.

Gwendoline never married and after retirement, she bought a flat in Balham but moved to the south coast three years ago, after breaking her hip from a fall.

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