A former dancer and publican from Chester celebrated her 100th birthday last week.
Josephine Dean hit her first century on Wednesday, July 17, and enjoyed a birthday treat with 70 friends and family ranging in age from Georgina, her 10-year-old great-granddaughter to Josie’s friend Enid, who is 103 years old.
Born Josephine Davies, Josie (as she is known) lived and worked in the city for most of her life and retired when she was 85 years old.
Her father, Eddie Davies, was landlord of the old Swan Hotel (now Primark) and he was a well-known character in the city in the 1930s.
With connections to the old Royalty Theatre and an enthusiastic regular at Chester Racecourse, he frequently took holidays and cruises in the Bahamas from where he would telephone his notorious and bad-tempered talking parrots in Chester to check they were OK.
After completing her education at the Chester Convent School, with stars in her eyes, Josie borrowed her father’s car and travelled to Manchester to audition as a dancer – a very daring move for a girl at that time.
She was a great success and danced on many London stages before returning to Chester two years later, to marry her sweetheart Peter Dean at St John’s Church in 1936.
Together they took over The Nag's Head at Mickle Trafford and, until they retired in 1966, their rose garden by the river was a popular destination. Josie’s two children, Rodney and Pamela were educated locally – Rodney at Helsby Grammar School and Pam at The Queens School.
After returning from a two-year trip to the Antarctic, Rodney bought The Groves Café by the River Dee and Pam moved to London to work, eventually as a journalist and TV presenter.
Four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren later, Josie now lives quietly in an apartment at Arkle Court, The Holkum but she still enjoys dressing up for a game of Scrabble or an evening with friends. Until recently she would often take the coach to London to visit her daughter, or to Bristol and Cambridge to visit friends. She said: “I love long coach journeys – they just give me time to think.”