A FORMER nurse and teacher who came to the UK from Germany after the Second World War is to celebrate her 100th birthday.

Ursula Hoar was born on January 16, 1917, in the former German city of Danzig, which later became the Polish port of Gdansk.

After a lifetime which saw her lose her parents to the Soviets, enjoy a career at Essex hospitals and schools and become friends with Dame Helen Mirren, Ursula celebrated at Millard House Care Home in Bocking, where she has lived since 2003.

She had a privileged start to life living with her father Konrad Kossman, a staff officer to Marshall Hindenberg, and her mother Elfrieda a successful opera singer.

After studying medicine at Berlin University, she joined a team of doctors accompanying the German military to Hanover near the end of the Second World War.

After the conflict she started working at a hospital in Kiel, northern Germany, where she learnt her parents had be en forcibly taken to work for the Soviets. She never heard from them again.

A talented theatre nurse, she started working at Westcliff Hospital and went on to work at St Thomas’ Hospital, Chelmsford.

While living in Westcliff she went on to become good friends with Oscar-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren.

Ursula regularly challenged herself physically and rode a Hobbs Barbican 5,000 miles in nine weeks and travelled from Essex to Helsinki for the 1952 Olympic Games.

As a part-time German tutor, she met her husband Harvey Hoar in 1961 and impressed him with her piano-playing ability.

She took up teaching full-time in 1969, starting a job at Maldon Grammar School, and went on to work at 18 different schools and colleges in the next 25 years.

The couple shared many passions together including sailing and took motorcycle trips from their home in Danbury to Ursula’s beloved Germany.

Sadly Ursula was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2003 and after paying final visits to her former home Danzig and her beloved Cornwall, she moved to Bocking, where she is a firm favourite of all of the staff.

Her husband said she was a modest woman but was very much looking forward to receiving her letter from the Queen.

Harvey, 79, said: “We used to speak to each other in German all the time which I think helped her manage the loss of losing her family and moving to England.

“I still read German poetry to her now. She is so talented and so very kind, compassionate and fascinating.

“Without the war I would have never met anybody quite like her and I feel so incredibly lucky that I did.”