Christmas Day was preceded by another important event for Sydenham resident Laura ‘Rene’ Sykes and her family.
Laura, who always preferred to be called Rene as she did not like her name, celebrated turning 100 on Christmas Eve and was joined by her loved ones at Sycamore’s care home on her birthday.
Care home staff presented her with a present, cake and flowers, before throwing her a party, at which she, her family and fellow residents enjoyed a special buffet lunch and entertainment from singer Justinea Rose.
Rene was born on 24 December 1913, the second child of Mabel and Edgar Sykes.
In the early part of her life she lived in Kenilworth with her older sister, Nora.
Their parents eventually had seven children.
When she left school, and like many women of her age, Laura went into service, working for the Dumar family who lived in Lillington Road.
During the Second World War she worked in a munitions factory in Warwick.
She was always a very able seamstress and worked for a while in the Goray factory in Clarendon Street.
In the late 1940s or early 1950s Rene became the residential housekeeper for the Blair family who lived on the Kenilworth Road.
Never marrying, she eventually returned to live with her parents in Braemar Road, Lillington.
Her last job was in Warwick at a small factory.
Rene’s hobbies included dressmaking, gardening, photography, cycling, dancing and in the early 60s she was a very keen bingo player.
Rene’s niece Hazel Darbon said: “My mother, Sheila, was Rene’s younger sister and she became a very devoted aunt to me and my two younger sisters, so much so that she came to our house for dinner twice a week.
Also when we were young, Rene and Nora came on holiday with our family nearly every summer.”