A resident at Lord Harris Court, in Berkshire, has celebrated her 100th birthday.
Margaret Bradley enjoyed an afternoon tea party with fellow residents. In spite of the pandemic, staff were determined to ensure that she had a memorable birthday, so they safely arranged a small gathering. Afterwards, she met her daughter Meriel and her grandson Jonathan in the visitor pod. They were extremely happy to spend some time together.
Abigail Cranston, Home Manager at Lord Harris Court, said:
It was an honour to celebrate Margaret’s 100th birthday at our Home. She is a wonderful lady who is much loved at Lord Harris Court. Her birthday party lifted all our spirits.
Margaret Bradley was born on 18th March 1921, just two years after the end of the First World War, in Wembley, Middlesex. She grew up in Harlesden, North West London, and married her husband Frank, with whom she had two children. When asked about her biggest achievement in life, she says that having a close family that you love and cherish is the best thing.
When the Second World War was declared, Margaret was only 18. She remembers being once rushed to the air-raid shelter her father had dug into the lawn for protection when the sirens sounded. However, the all-clear siren sounded and Margaret and her family all appeared above ground with relief.
Unfortunately, as it happened to many others, her family was separated temporarily to keep them all safe. Her sister was evacuated with the school. Her mother and one of her brothers went to live in Wellingborough. Her other brother went to a Salesian college as a boarder, while she stayed with her father.
As part of the Essential War Work Order, Margaret provided supplies of crockery, tools, sheets, ARP (Air-raid precaution) equipment to hospitals, and ordnance factories. She worked 12-hour shifts over six days a week and every third night she joined a fire-watching team. She remembers waking up one morning to hear that 26 factories had been bombed in the country.
After the war, Margaret worked as a technical librarian in a hospital, but she also established and ran her own poodle clipping business. Her daughter Meriel said:
My mum is a resilient and strong-willed feminist, always ahead of her time. She could have gone on Woman’s Hour!
Margaret considers traveling as one of her greatest achievements, as she admits that many people never get the opportunity to see other cultures. She recalled:
I loved to travel with my mother. Before the war we mainly travelled to Europe. With my husband, Frank, we visited Canada, America, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Madeira and many more countries.
Sharing her secret to a long life, Margaret said:
I have survived through determination, being independent and strong minded. I never gave up, and I’ve always being respectful of others.
Her wise advice for the younger generations is:
Let your ‘yes’ be a ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be a ‘no’ – be firm and clear about things, but also take your time when making a big decision and see how you still feel in the morning after you have slept on it.