SHOULD you have been reading the Thurrock Gazette in the 1940s - then the chances are you will have read the stories of Constance Sanders...

The former Gazette reporter has turned 100!

Joined at her Whitecroft home by members of her family to celebrate, Mrs Sanders reminisced about her time working for the newspaper, then called the Essex and Thurrock Gazette and the Grays and Tilbury Gazette.

She spoke fondly of her time covering Thurrock’s many social events, including dinner dances at the grand Tilbury Hotel during the late 1930s and early 1940s. A building was destroyed by bombs in 1944.

Mrs Sanders said: “I got started in the office and progressed from there. I reported on events happening in the area.

“I covered a lot of social events but also some of the more serious things.

“It was a very long time ago, but I really enjoyed it.”

And not even World War Two and the black outs deterred Mrs Sanders: “It was a very difficult time. In the evenings, it was very dark because the lights were out. But I still went out reporting.”

Speaking surrounded by balloons and cards marking her 100th birthday, Mrs Sanders recalled a fire at the Gazette offices which started on lights used to illuminate the sign above the door.

She said: “It wasn’t my best day...I was sitting in the office, I had no idea there was a fire until the fire brigade turned up!”

Mrs Sanders, who was married to a well-known local builder called Percy, worked full time until 1942, when she had her son Bernard and continued working for the paper part-time.

As well as keeping borough updated on events, and writing up her stories on a type-writer, Mrs Sanders was a keen golfer and a member of Orsett Golf Club. Her love of golf still burns strong.

Constance also volunteered at Thurrock Community Hospital and was involved in numerous charity projects. “I did a lot of reporting. I really enjoyed it.”

Thurrock Gazette:

Family occasion - Constance surrounded by her family last Thursday