GWEN Gleadall insists she doesn’t like a fuss on her birthday… but when you reach 100 you have to make an exception!
So family, friends and staff at Castelayn residential home in Gleadless made sure Gwen had a special day to remember as Lord Mayor of Sheffield Coun Sylvia Dunkley called in with the city’s anniversary greetings.
And – proving you’re never too old to master 21st century living – Gwen’s celebration treats included some computer training so she can keep in touch with family via Facebook, and the chance to master mobile phone texting.
The daughter of Sheffield tailor Albert Smith, who had shops in Norfolk Street and Leeds city centre, Gwen grew up in Woodseats and was a pupil at Notre Dame School, later attending a teacher training college in Peterborough.
Her first teaching post, back in Sheffield, was at Sharrow Lane School, but her career was broken by the demands of nursing her sick parents and then the start of the Second World War.
In one extraordinary night of drama, Gwen was one of the few people to survive the direct bombing hit on the Marples pub in Sheffield city centre that took so many lives.
Gwen did not marry until she was 40 years old and was then able to return to her teaching career at Woodbourn Road School, where she remained until her retirement at 61.
Her husband Albert, who was also a teacher at the school, died at the age of 60.
One of the highlights of her life, she says, was a chance to fly around Sheffield with aviator Sir Alan Cobham back in 1925. So one of her 100th birthday celebrations is to be a return visit to Norton Aerodrome, even if this time her feet will be planted firmly on the ground.
Castelayn manager Diana Oak said: “She’s a remarkable lady who enjoys making the most of every opportunity.”