A GREAT-great-grandmother from Dorchester has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Bessie Stopforth turned 100 on January 31. Originally from Coalville in Leicestershire, she moved down to Dorchester in 1965 with her husband Reg Joyce and their five young children.

The couple met while working in the military police, which they left when they moved to Dorset in the quest for a quieter life and opened Joyce's Stores, a corner shop.

Mr Joyce died in 1979 and Bessie remarried the owner of a flower shop, Lou Stopforth. The couple were together for 12 years before Mr Stopforth passed away.

Bessie, who dedicated much of her free time to volunteering at a local club that cared for people with disabilities, celebrated her milestone birthday at Signature House Residential Home in Dorchester, where she has lived for more than 10 years.

Staff at the home threw her a party and she received a brief visit from two of her children and three of her grandchildren, all of whom wore personal protective equipment and had to be tested.

Bessie's granddaughter Kelly Riglar unfortunately tested positive so was unable to go inside the home and celebrate with her grandmother.

She said: "I couldn't go in which was such a shame, although at one point we did think that none of us would be able to go so I'm very pleased that she got to celebrate with some of her family around her.

"I have such fond memories of nan saying that she wanted to get to 100-years-old so that she would get a telegram from The Queen and I am thrilled that she has made it and she got her telegram."

Bessie, who was one of four children, has 10 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild, Connie, who was born in December, 2020.

Kelly added: "It is amazing that she is still going so strong, especially after the year that we have had and, although she suffers with dementia now and might not remember, we all get to have the fond memory of seeing her turn 100."