Sheffield great grandmother Bess celebrates her 100th birthday

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A great-grandmother celebrated her 100th year of life just down the road from where she first began it...

Bess Fletcher, who was born on White Lane, Chapeltown, in 1913, turned 100 just half a mile away in Chapel Lodge Care Home, surrounded by her loving family.

The great-grandmother-of-three was born on September 13, 1913 – and has always believed 13 to be her lucky number.

Her name, on the other hand, was a different matter.

Daughter Linda Mclean, aged 65, said: “She always says only donkeys, horses and cows are called Bessie – she has absolutely hated being called that.”

During her youth, Bess was a keen tennis player and was a local champion – and still treasures trophies she won as a young woman.

She was also a keen pianist and received a first-class diploma from the London College of Music for her playing when aged 18, and has performed in Sheffield’s Cutlers’ Hall.

Bess and husband Alf met grew up as childhood friends. For their first date, they went on a walk.

They married in 1939 at St Saviour’s Church, High Green, and lived in Housley Park for their entire 62 years of marriage, bringing up two daughters, Linda and Janet, 70. Alf died in 2001, aged 90.

Linda said: “Mum spent her days looking after us and helping us out. We had a real laugh.”

Bess has three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren – Charlie, six, three-year-old D’arcy and Isla, one.

She used to knit an assortment of jumpers for her children and grandchildren – each grandchild had a knitted Paddington Bear jumper.

In 2011, she moved in to Chapel Lodge Care Home, half a mile down the road from where she was born.

Anna Green, home activities co-ordinator, said: “She’s such a lovely lady.

“She loves a good chat, either with the residents or the staff.”

Bess’ entire family wished her a happy birthday, along with Coun Vickie Priestley, Lord Mayor of Sheffield.