She is hardly a girl anymore – but soon-to-be centenarian Anne Gilbert is still a passionate believer in the Girlguiding.
The great-grandmother became a Brownie when she was aged just eight – and is believed to be the oldest person in the country still involved with the movement.
Anne, who marked her 100th birthday with fellow members of Sheffield City Trefoil Guild and still lives independently in Longley, said: “The Guides has always been my life.
“I started in Skye Edge and then went to one on the Prince of Wales Road for a while.
“I remember having to meet in the cellar because of the bombs during the Blitz until the Boys’ Brigade said ‘we can’t do this anymore’.
“It was a good job, because as I was walking home one night the sirens went off.
“I was seven months pregnant and we had to hide in the shelter.
“People should still get involved with the Guides because it is an excellent organisation.”
Anne left school at 14 to start working in a shop which cleaned and dried clothes and later went on to run her own haberdashery in Pitsmoor.
She started to help with Guides and Brownies groups before becoming a Brown Owl, a post she held until the age of 65, although she continued to support youngsters for another 20 years.
The travel-lover has visited far-flung destinations, including Mexico and Switzerland, with the Guides and has been in the Trefoil Guild – Guiding for adults – for 15 years.
Anne, who turns 100 on Saturday, March 15, said: “As far as I know I am the oldest person in guiding in the country, definitely in Sheffield.
“I don’t feel any different, I’m still doing things for myself.
“When I was younger, we did things, we worked. If I had an afternoon off school I had to wash the windows.
“Now people seem to take it easy, as long as they have a computer in front of them. I think the secret to a long life is always being on the go.”
Anne was presented with an engraved candle holder and sang with her fellow guild members in the presentation in the Quaker Meeting House, on St James’ Street in the city centre.
Party food from the days when she joined the movement, including jelly and potted meat sandwiches, was also laid on.
Diane Bollom, Sheffield guild chairman, said Anne’s experience was ‘invaluable’.
She said: “I find it hard to realise Anne is 100. She is just like any other member, and a lively one at that.”
Anne’s proud daughter Pat Kershaw, 68, said: “Mum is amazing. She has a carer do her lunch, but apart from that she is independent, her brain is 100 per cent and she doesn’t forget anything.”
Girlguiding is the largest youth organisation for girls in the UK today.
More than 14 per cent of girls aged six are in Rainbows.
Adult volunteers give on average 120 hours a year.
There are about 100,000 volunteers involved in Girlguiding.
Girlguiding has about 450,000 young members aged four to 25.
About a quarter of all eight-year-old girls in the UK are Brownies.
One in 10 of all 11-year-old girls in the UK are Guides.