A RETIREMENT home in Ryde celebrated two special ladies last week ­— with both of them turning 100.

At Abbeyfield Lodge, Ruby Hatch and Mollie Brading celebrated their birthdays together, with friends, family and carers.

Ruby, born in Newport, celebrated turning 100 on Monday, October 14, while Mollie was prematurely celebrating her birthday, which is on November 1.

Both were born in 1919, a year after the culmination of the First World War.

Ruby's father served in Egypt, and Ruby herself became involved in the Second World War 20 years later, driving officers to their destinations.

She would drive trucks, lorries and even the officers' own private cars ­— sometimes during blackout regulations in the dead of night.

Ruby later became a driver for the fire service, pre-dated by a career at Harvey's Confectioneries ­­— a place that would lead her to her future husband.

Ruby met her husband, Cyril, at a Harvey's social evening, coinciding with an army dance at Caesars Road ­— Cyril was working for the army at the time at Parkhurst Barracks.

The pair went on to have two daughters, Wendy and Gillian.

Mollie was born in Cowes, and moved to Ryde in 1921.

She left school at 14, and went to work at the Isle of Wight Times newspaper, before working at a photography shop, developing and printing photos.

When the Second World War started, Mollie worked at the cash desk at Home and Colonial ­— a grocery shop ­— while her future husband, William, served in the war.

The pair married in 1941, and William sent Mollie a telegram, informing her that he was on leave so they could get married.

Mollie said: "The telegram said 'arriving tomorrow, get ready to get married' and I had just hours to get ready for the wedding."

She remembers going fire-watching during the war, and hearing planes zoom past her house as they headed towards Southampton.

Mollie went on to have two boys, William and John.

As for the secret to a long life, no magical chalice was mentioned, but both were unanimous in their praise of health, happiness and love ­— the true elixirs of life.

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