A former RAF flying officer has recently celebrated her 100th birthday - but she still keeps up with family and friends on social media and through emails.

Joan Cool, who lives at Fairfield House in Lyme Regis, recalls her time in the RAF, meeting her husband and her secret to longevity.

Joan, who has two children, five grandchildren and five great grandchildren, was born on October 23, 1919 in Huddersfield, Yorkshire before her family moved to Moorlea in 1927.

She went to Greenhead High School after passing her 11 plus when she was only 10-years-old and it was here she met her best friend Rachel with their friendship lasting until she died in 2005.

Joan joined a fever hospital when she was 17 as she was not yet old enough to go into general nursing but passed her nursing exams when she was 21.

During the war, Joan became a flying officer with the RAF in the Princess Mary Nurses.

Joan said: “I joined the RAF as a nursing sister in 1943 and I did that until the end of the war.

“I marched in the first Battle of Britain parade, I think there were about eight sisters, but we had never done any drilling and we went past the king on the saluting base at Buckingham Palace.”

She was posted to Swindon at a casualty clearing station for D-Day.

She added: “We used to take in every other night so we could deal with things that needed doing, then they would be passed on to a hospital, probably nearer to their hometown. It was sad in a way because they were the youth of our generation. It was such a waste.”

After the war had finished, Joan got a job as an industrial nurse. She was working at Christy and Co hat manufacturers when she met her husband John.

“He was the buyer, had gone to war and come back, and had been there since he was 14, worked his way up from an office boy to the head buyer,” she said.

“I was setting the first aid room up, there was nothing there and I got a couch and all the things I needed for first aid, and I made an order form out and somebody said, ‘that has to go through Mr Cool’, so that’s how we met.

“I spent a year and a half there and then the NHS came in so they didn’t need a trained nurse, but I didn’t care because I had got married.”

They married in January 1948 with their first child, Jacqueline, arriving in April 1949, followed by their son Michael in January 1952, but she carried on nursing as they grew up.

In the 1960s, Joan and John would organise caravan rallies all over Europe, for which she gained quite a reputation, and in 1993, they moved to Lyme Regis where Joan joined the WI. It was mainly due to her being the secretary that Joan decided to get a computer instead of using a typewriter.

Joan has had many highlights through her life that none could be singled out. But when asked what she puts her longevity to, Joan said: “I had a good start in childhood and when I was training, we always had good meals and I looked after myself. If I had anything wrong, I wouldn’t wait until it got me, I went to the doctor before it got me and I had two great-aunts, one live until 102 and the other lived until she was 105.”

Joan celebrated her birthday with a lunch at Lyme Regis Golf Club, with two old friends coming to surprise her on her birthday, which was ‘the icing on the cake’.