Joan receives a Papal blessing on 100th birthday

A former newspaper reporter from Louth has marked her 100th birthday in style.

Joan Younger at her 100th birthday thanksgiving Mass on February 21.

Joan Younger, a devout Catholic, celebrated her special milestone last Friday (February 21) with a thanksgiving birthday Mass held at St Mary’s Church - and the celebratory service was delivered by her own son, Father John Younger.

She was joined by her friends and family, including four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, who made the trip to Louth from as far afield as Australia.

Not only that, but Joan also received a very special blessing from Pope Francis, which was kindly arranged in secret by her family.

Joan pictured with her children on her 100th birthday

During a special birthday lunch at the Royal Oak in Little Cawthorpe, Joan’s family also presented her with photo book of her life over 100 years.

And of course, the Queen passed on her very best wishes with a special birthday card!

Joan was born at her grandparents’ home in Louth on February 21, 1920, and she enjoyed her childhood in Mablethorpe where she got involved with amateur dramatics and pursued her passion for writing.

This later led to her becoming a news reporter for the Louth Advertiser at the age of 16, which she continued for several years before joining the Air Ministry following the outbreak of World War II.

Joan and Harry with their son John (1942)

One of Joan’s most memorable and nerve-wracking jobs at the Louth Advertiser was to climb almost to the top of St James’ Church spire, while the Rector’s daughter went up to replace the weather vane!

Meanwhile, Joan and her future husband Harry - who carried out maintenance on Lancaster Bombers during the Second World War - were courting, and they married at St Mary’s Church in 1940.

Joan gave birth to her son John in 1942, and she would later join him on pilgrimages with the ‘Jumbulance’ to places such as Lourdes, Rome, and The Holy Land.

Joan and Harry had two daughters,Margaret in 1944 and Eileen in 1950. Harry sadly passed away in the 1980s.

Joan, who has lived at Stewton House for the last six years, said the secret to a long life is ‘healthy eating and exercise’ - as well as making sure that she lived a good life!