The 100 / #81: Sadie del-Valle

#81 Sadie del-Valle Suffolk, UK

About Sadie

Tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Sarah but everyone has called me Sadie since I was young. I was born in East Ham, London, in 1930. During the war I was evacuated to the West Country with my two younger brothers. For a short time, our mother was with us, too, because my youngest brother was still a baby. I met my husband, Alfie, at the record stall on Petticoat Lane market when I was 16. He had not long been demobbed from the army and was terribly dashing. We married when I was 19 and we had our first child, Ian, when I was 21. Jacquie follwed four years later, and another four after that I had Melanie. Before I married, I trained as a hairdresser, which was something I was able to continue even with small children.

We lived in London until the mid-1970s, when my mother fell and was advised to leave the city. So we moved to Newmarket, in Suffolk. I’ve lived here ever since, watching my children have children of their own, and now my grandchildren are beginning to raise their own families, too. I wish that my husband were with me to enjoy this – he died in 2004, of cancer.

I’ve always been very active and until I fell poorly last year, I was still working, going to the gym, and swimming every week. That’s had to take backseat whilst I recover, but I’m still cooking and baking as I always did!

What one thing are you most proud of in your 81 years so far?
It has to be the achievements of my grandchildren. There are five of them: Daniela, a writer; Gabi, a professional baker and mummy to Eva; Nick who is an actor; Josh the musician; and Rob who’s at university still.

What one thing do you hope to do before you’re 100 years old?
Attend my eldest granddaughter’s PhD graduation.

What do you feel is the most significant thing that has changed in the world during your lifetime?
The ability to travel. The world really is now a much smaller place and so much more accessible. Horizons have expanded and the potential experiences for each and every one of us is so much greater.

What one piece of advice would you give your 10 year old self?
When I was 10 years old, war was raging throughout Europe and I had been evacuated from my home in London. It was a very frightening, uncertain period of my life, for everyone. I’d tell myself to not be scared, and to enjoy every day and make the most of it. You never know if it might be your last.

Share Sadie's images