Friends and family gather to wish Bet a happy 100th birthday

A Royal Star & Garter resident has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Bet Smith-Kempson enjoyed a party at the Surbiton Home on the eve of her birthday, before going to her daughter’s house for a friends-and-family gathering on her big day on 14 October.

Royal Star & Garter provides loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia. The charity also has Homes in Solihull and High Wycombe.

Bet was born in 1923, and though she wanted to serve in the Armed Forces during WWII, she had to remain at home to care for her sick mother. Determined to play her part in another way, Bet worked in the accounts section of a munitions factory, which produced parachutes and other products vital for the war effort.

Following the conflict, Bet worked in the accounts section at Twickenham Film Studios, where she met a long list of A-list stars, including Elizabeth Taylor.

Bet, who is due to become a great-grandmother for the first time in December, enjoyed a pre-birthday party at Royal Star & Garter. Family, residents and staff gathered on Friday 13 October to celebrate Bet’s big day, accompanied by crooner Ray Lowe. The following day, she had a family get-together at her daughter Carolyn’s home.

Bet, whose husband served in the Navy, has been a resident at Royal Star & Garter since 2018, and said:

“I had a lovely time on my birthday.”

Praising Royal Star & Garter, she added:

“I love it here. You have your own private place which feels like home, and yet you are here with a lot of other people. I like people around me and being kept active.”

Son Graham said:

“Mum had an amazing 100th birthday. She enjoyed her party at Royal Star & Garter with one of her favourite singers, and had a lovely afternoon at my sister’s house. We can’t thank Royal Star & Garter enough for all they do for Mum.”

Royal Star & Garter in Surbiton is welcoming new residents. For more information on this, or to work at the Home, go to

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