Box birthday to remember

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Ada Collier celebrates her 100th birthday surrounded by her family Ada Collier celebrates her 100th birthday surrounded by her family

Five generations met in Box to celebrate the 100th birthday of one of the village’s best-known inhabitants.

Ada Collier turned 100 on December 29, and celebrated her centenary with a family party in the Northey Arms.

Around 70 people, including her six children, Ada, Henry, Peter, Barbara, Jean and Helen, and her many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, were present.

Peter said: “We do all try to get together often, but it’s rare to get the whole family together. There’s usually someone who can’t make it, so it was extra-special for everyone to be there for this.”

Mrs Collier was born in Nuneaton, near Coventry, in 1912, the youngest of three children of William Wall, who was the poor law officer for Warwickshire.

A keen artist and lover of horses, she went to art school in Warwick and was part-owner of a riding school in Bognor Regis before her marriage to Henry, a stud groom.

They moved to Colerne in the 1960s, before settling in Box with their family.

Mr Collier worked in the stables at Lucknam Park, tending the horses owned by Lieut Col Eion Merry, of the Royal Horse Guards, and Mrs Collier was regularly seen riding in the village.

Mr Collier said: “She’d always worked with horses, and, along with her art, they were her life.

“She was quite well-known for holding up the traffic as she rode around the village.

“She didn’t pass her driving test until she was in her 50s and, since she had a car, she was really independent.

“She continued riding well into her 80s, was also a keen seamstress and continued painting well into later life.”

Mrs Collier now lives with her daughter, Jean Dolman, and son-in-law, Brian, in Box.

Mrs Dolman said: “She got a bit emotional when she saw all the cards she had, including one from the Queen, and one from Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. She couldn’t believe she was 100.

“She had a lot of flowers, and quite a few cards, and was really pleased to see all the family there for what was a really nice afternoon.”

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