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Clapton family celebrates the life of 101-year-old Windrush nurse

PUBLISHED: 16:31 20 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:31 20 January 2020

Iris at her 100th birthday party.

Iris at her 100th birthday party.

Lorna Marshall

A Clapton nurse who moved to Hackney from Jamaica in the 1950s has died aged 101.

Iris Roper was born on October 13, 1918 and moved to Britain when she was 40 years old.Iris Roper was born on October 13, 1918 and moved to Britain when she was 40 years old.

Iris Roper was going to be a great-great-great grandmother in the spring. The centenarian spent a lifetime caring for others and had worked all over London in various hospitals including St Leonard's in Hackney and St Michael's in Enfield.

"[Iris] was always laughing," said her grandson-in-law Rayon Marshall. "The one thing she wanted and always asked is for her family to be together.

"She never liked any fuss or fight. She was a peaceful lady always looking out for others."

Iris came to Britain in 1959 to join her husband who was also a nurse, leaving Jamaica just before the country gained independence in 1962.

Iris Roper received a letter from the Queen last year to commemorate her 100th birthday.Iris Roper received a letter from the Queen last year to commemorate her 100th birthday.

Rayon continued: "She never really talked much about Jamaica other than wanting to have a better life so she could help her family back there.

After receiving a letter from the Queen last year to commemorate her 100th birthday Iris declared she was now the Queen of the family.

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She celebrated her last birthday with a party at home bringing together loved ones and friends.

"She really loved it here in Clapton and never wanted to move," added Rayon. "When she first came they were living in Stoke Newington and then they moved to Clapton where she lived ever since."

Iris believed one of the reasons she had such a long life was that she always ate well.

"She was from the Caribbean and loved her Caribbean food - even in her last days [that's all she ate] - and a little shot of brandy as well," said Rayon.

As a member of the Windrush generation Iris lived a life like many other immigrants who arrived in Britain from the West Indies in the latter half of the 20th century.

Rayon said Iris did not speak much about her arrival in the UK or her experiences as a member of the Windrush Generation.

"She started to work and got on with her life and raised her children," he said. "I think that was mainly her priority.

"Iris was all about family and friends, she's told us to live good with each other and God will bless us."

Iris' funeral will be held on February 7.


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