A FORMER nurse who devoted her life to caring for children in need has turned 104.

Rose Gibson marked her birthday with friends and staff at Treetops Care Home in Station Road, Epping, with a cake baked specially for the occasion by one of her carers.

Miss Gibson was born in Hackney, but spent her working life travelling the country caring for children and young women.

She took up posts in several children's homes and also spent a period working in the YWCA in Inverness.

Miss Gibson's nephew Kenneth Neil, 90, of Saffron Walden, visits his aunt regularly.

"Most of her working life was with children or young women - and that was really her vocation," said Mr Neil, a great-grandfather of 15.

"She never married so she's never had a family of her own, but she has looked after a lot of other people's in these children's homes.

"She did quite a bit of work in the local chapel in Hackney. I suppose she always had a religious dimension in her life."

Miss Gibson also travelled widely outside the UK - and had a particular interest in the ancient histories of countries such as Egypt and Italy.

"She did quite a bit of travelling, cruises to Scandinavia. Her friend was also single, like Rose, and they used to go around together a lot," said Mr Neil.

Miss Gibson lived alone in Willingale Road, Loughton, until the age of 101, regularly carrying out her own DIY jobs and tending to her garden.

"She's quite content in Treetops now - they are very kind to her," added Mr Neil.

Treetops deputy manager Della Johnson said Miss Gibson was still active and independent, taking regular walks around the home.

"She can still be really funny. She still talks about the children. And she still enjoys her fish and chips on a Friday," said Mrs Johnson.

"And at 104 she still doesn't take any medication - just the odd paracetamol."

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