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'Remarkable' woman marks 100th birthday in the same house she’s lived in since 1921

Readers Lounge - By Mirror
Spritely spinster Vera Bunting at her home in Ambleside (Image: SWNS)

A "remarkable" spinster will celebrate her 100th birthday today - in the house where she has lived her whole life.

Vera Bunting moved into the modest mid-terrace with her parents when she was just six-months-old.

She turned down four marriage proposals to remain in "one of the most beautiful places on earth", Ambleside in the Lake District.

Still fit and agile, she stayed behind after her elder sister Mary and younger brother Robert moved out.

The property has two flights of stairs, with her bedroom on the first floor, and the bathroom on the second.

But Vera - nicknamed 'Auntie V' by her niece and nephew - has no intention of moving.

"I had four proposals towards the end of the war but I didn't want to be tied down," she explained.

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"I liked to travel. At that time I knew a lot of local boys who did not come back."

Vera circa 1940 (Image: SWNS)

She never wanted to move because it is such a "lovely house".

"I love walking," she told the Mirror. "I have climbed all the mountains around here including Helvellyn and Great Gable.

"It has been snowy, and I've seen lovely, sunny days. I am still able to walk about on my own.

"I have really enjoyed my life."

Carers come in to make breakfast for her every day.

And she makes a regular early morning call to her niece and nephew - who live nearby.

Vera's parents came to Wansfell Terrace in 1921 with babies Mary and Vera, paying just shillings in rent.

With baby Robert on the way, they moved three doors down into a bigger house when Vera was just six months old. Back then it only had a coal fire and an outside toilet.

Vera has lived at the same home since she was six months old (Image: SWNS)

Vera, a retired dressmaker, recalled: "I never wanted to live anywhere else. I was always happy here.

"Growing up I had a wonderful childhood, it used to look very different around here. Now it is built up with houses all around but back then we were surrounded by fields and trees.

"My mum used to pack us a picnic basket with sandwiches and cake - she was a good baker.

"We'd go out into the fields with all our friends and play all day. It was wonderful."

She attended Ambleside Church of England Girls School before leaving at 14 to work at a ladies outfitters, hairdressers, haberdashery and chiropodists.

She was taught dressmaking and, after working at the Co-op in 1939, she was the official photographer for the Queen and Prince Philip's visit to Lake Windermere.

She passed her driving test at the sixth attempt to become valuation inspector for the area.

She has visited Australia, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Sardinia, Tunisia, North Africa - and even had an audience with Pope Francis in Rome.

Vera said she turned down numerous marriage proposals over the years (Image: SWNS)

She is planning a "low key" birthday celebration today.

"We are going for a drive and going for afternoon tea," she said.

"There was a big party planned, but of course we cannot do that now.

"I'll have tea and scones - and a bit of cake."

Vera's three-bed home is still rented from the same family, with the daughter inheriting some of the properties from her father.

One of the houses on the street has just sold for £300,000.

Vera joked: "I did consider moving to buy a house but my dad wouldn't let me. He said I didn't want to get into property.

"Of course, he was wrong."

Vera's plans for a big party have been hampered due to the pandemic (Image: SWNS)

She took early retirement to look after her mum when her dad died in 1970, aged 85.

She looked after her mum until she also passed away, at home, in 1981 at the age of 94.

Teetotal and a non-smoker, Vera believes the secret of her long and happy life is clean, fresh air.

She added: "I loved to go dancing when I was younger, we had plenty of partners as the soldiers were stationed nearby at Grasmere.

"My dad told me that if I were to start going to the pubs, I wouldn't be dancing. So I never did. I'd go walking in the mountains every weekend with my friends.

"I have holidayed all over the world, but home is where the heart is."

She still has a coal fire and will put a log on when the dark nights draw in, even with central heating.

Vera with her brother William and sister Mary in 1939 (Image: SWNS)

She also has a downstairs loo.

She keeps her mind active by writing a daily journal since the age of 18.

She has a "bag full of diaries" - but her family won't let her throw them away.

Vera did her own shopping until the pandemic hit and is now being helped by her nephew, retired gas fitter, Kevin Bunting, 68, and his wife, National Trust employee, Suzi Bunting, 61.

They are in awe of 'Auntie V' and delighted to celebrate her centenary with her.

Suzi said: “Quite remarkable and still an independent lady is Miss Bunting.”

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