RS20240603 SMT Joyce100 Birthday 14

Keep calm and ‘toddle along’ – Bristol Blitz survivor celebrates 100th birthday

A survivor of the Bristol Blitz recently celebrated her 100th birthday with friends and staff at a St Monica Trust Retirement Village.

Joyce Weaver was fifteen years old at the outbreak of World War II. As a volunteer Fire Watcher, she would spend her nights looking out for enemy planes dropping incendiary bombs on Bristol.

Armed with a bucket of water and a pump, it was Joyce’s job to extinguish the incendiary bombs before they could set fire to local homes and factories.

Joyce said: “I remember coming along Coronation Road in the bus early in the morning and the whole of the Bristol Docks were on fire.

"Another time I was walking to work after a bomb had been dropped on the White Horse Pub in the night and there was a tram on top of the roof.”

Tuppence an hour

Joyce attended Cheddar Grove School and then Marksbury Road School in Bedminster Down, although she admits that she “wasn’t a very good scholar” and struggled with Geometry in particular. She once got 4 out of 40 in a Geometry exam, much to the consternation of her father who was a qualified engineer.

After leaving school, Joyce worked for Robinsons of Bristol, a printing and bag manufacturing company, where she earned 10 Shillings for working 48 hours a week. She said: “That worked out at tuppence an hour, but I enjoyed it.

“My Aunt was forewoman there and any dirty jobs she’d always give them to me. They put in new accounting machines when the firm moved due to bomb damage and they asked if I’d like to learn, so that’s what I did.”

Joyce met her husband Bert during the war while she was babysitting for his sister. He was a merchant seaman and took part in the Normandy Landings, taking supplies across the English Channel for the Allied invasion.

After the war, Joyce and Bert bought a house in Southville and raised their three daughters. Joyce lived there for 65 years before moving into St Monica Trust’s Monica Wills House Retirement Village in 2014.

Toddled along

Joyce celebrated her birthday with a surprise party thrown by her family, fellow residents and colleagues at her retirement village on 2 June.

Asked about the secret of her long life, Joyce said: “I never indulged in anything and just sort of toddled along. I think it’s all in the genes and keeping active. My Grandfather was 90 when he got killed riding his bike home after playing whist.

“Bert died in 1980 and I’ve been fending for myself ever since. I only have a carer come in twice a week and our girls are ever so good. Whoever comes in puts the vacuum round before they go home. It’s a wonder I’ve got any tuft left on the carpet!”

Village Manager, Claire Chambers said: “Joyce was one of the very first people to put her name down when Monica Wills House was being built and it’s amazing to think that she can see her old home, where she went to school and where she worked from the balcony of her apartment.”

“Joyce has been a much-loved part of our community for the last ten years and it was wonderful to be able to throw a surprise party in her honour and celebrate her long-life with her many friends and St Monica Trust colleagues here at Monica Wills House.”

For further information on the St Monica Trust's Monica Wills House Retirement Village or to arrange a viewing please contact the St Monica’s Trust sales team on 0117 949 4004 or e-mail

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