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Spalding birthday girl Gladys marks her centenary




Gladys holds one of her 100th birthday cards watched by, from left, (front) daughter Doreen Scott, granddaughter Susan Scott and sister Jean Jackson and (back) neighbours who dropped in with gifts, Mavis Smith, Sylvia Whiter, Chris Smith and Eunice Hosier. SG231117-103TW
Gladys holds one of her 100th birthday cards watched by, from left, (front) daughter Doreen Scott, granddaughter Susan Scott and sister Jean Jackson and (back) neighbours who dropped in with gifts, Mavis Smith, Sylvia Whiter, Chris Smith and Eunice Hosier. SG231117-103TW

Memories of bygone eras mingled with celebrations as Gladys Glover welcomed family, friends and neighbours on her 100th birthday on Thursday.

Gladys, who lives in Spalding, was also the centre of attention at a big family party on Saturday night.

Birthday girl Gladys with a card from her daughter, Doreen. SG231117-105TW
Birthday girl Gladys with a card from her daughter, Doreen. SG231117-105TW

The much-loved great-grandma was born in the town’s Willow Walk when the First World War was still raging and her dad, William Miller, was in the thick of it as a serving soldier with the artillery.

“When he came out of the Army, we went to live at Peakirk,” said Gladys. “Then we moved to Baston Fen and that’s where we stayed.”

Gladys left school at 14 and worked with heavy horses – sometimes one, sometimes two – on the family farm.

It was an unlikely setting for romance but her future husband, Reg Glover, was in a nearby field, also working horses.

Gladys said: “Our farm went up to their farm – he was one side of the river and I was the other side.

“We were talking to one another over the river.

“I always worked with shire horses – the big ones – on Dad’s farm.”

Those cross-water chats led first to an outing to the cinema.

Gladys recalled: “We eventually made arrangements that we went to the pictures and then we kept on going.

“I don’t know which picture house it was. There were three or four in Spalding at that time.”

The couple married in 1934, settling first at Hop Pole, near Deeping St Nicholas, and were working in farming until Reg took bought a garage business in High Road, Whaplode, where the Co-op store and garage are now.

They set up home in Whaplode Fen and Gladys worked in the garage business, cycling there and back in all weathers.

Reg didn’t retire until he was 75. He passed away in January 1990, a few years after the couple had celebrated their golden wedding.

Gladys has a daughter, Doreen Scott, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Sadly, her son Ken died some years ago aged 57.

Gladys was one of four siblings and was joined on her big day by her fellow survivor, baby sister Jean Jackson (86), who sums up Gladys in a single word: “Brilliant”.

Jean told us: “We are close, me and ‘Gladdie’ are, she’s sort of been a mum to me. She’s worked hard all of her life. She hasn’t had an easy life, not really.”

Granddaughter Susan Scott said: “When I was little, I used to go and stay with her down at Whaplode Fen and I would cycle up with her to the garage and we would go through all weathers.”

Although Gladys worked hard all of her life, she always found time for yet more work on her great passion, her garden.

Neighbours were among those springing surprises for Gladys’s big birthday, arriving with gifts including an amazing iced cake and flowers.

Gladys found their generosity “overwhelming”, but was clearly enjoying chatting to everyone who called as were her family.

Sadly, Gladys isn’t able to get out and about as she once did, but she has an agile mind and enjoys conversation.

Neighbour Eunice Hosier said: “She’s a lovely old lady. If she could get up and jive, she would.”

• Are you having a big celebration? Please email your news to jeremy.ransome@iliffepublishing.co.uk

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