Sheffield’s oldest woman says mischief is key to longevity

Mary Sturman, who is celebrating her 105th brithday, with her card from the Queen, and her family   (l-r) daughter Winnie, granddaughter Susan, great granddaughter Gemma, and daughter Margaret. Picture: Andrew Roe
Mary Sturman, who is celebrating her 105th brithday, with her card from the Queen, and her family (l-r) daughter Winnie, granddaughter Susan, great granddaughter Gemma, and daughter Margaret. Picture: Andrew Roe
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A great grandmother believed to be oldest woman in Sheffield says the secret to a long life is enjoying simple pleasures – and a bit of mischief.

Mary Sturman celebrated her 105th birthday surrounded by family, friends and the Lord Mayor – who told the party Mary is now the oldest woman in the city.

Mary Sturman, who is celebrating her 105th brithday with her birthday cards and card from the Queen. Picture: Andrew Roe

Mary Sturman, who is celebrating her 105th brithday with her birthday cards and card from the Queen. Picture: Andrew Roe

The mother-of-three, grandmother to eight and great grandmother to 20 said she was delighted to have reached the milestone.

Petite Mary, who measures 4ft 3ins, said: “I might not be the biggest, but I’m the oldest and it’s wonderful.”

Mary, who lives independently, is fully mobile and is still up to plenty of mischief, joked that the secret to longevity is probably too rude to print.

“Well I could tell you,” she quipped. “But I’m not sure that I should.”

Mary Sturman (third right), who is celebrating her 105th brithday, on her wedding day in 1940 with (l-r) her brother Joe, sister Evelyn, sister Winnie, brother Tom, dad William and husband Samuel. Picture: Andrew Roe

Mary Sturman (third right), who is celebrating her 105th brithday, on her wedding day in 1940 with (l-r) her brother Joe, sister Evelyn, sister Winnie, brother Tom, dad William and husband Samuel. Picture: Andrew Roe

But when pressed, she said it was down to plenty of the simple pleasures – as well as having a loving family and good friends.

Mary added that a positive attitude and remembering how to laugh is also essential.

Born Mary Innocent, she grew up in Pitsmoor and went to Sacred Heart School.

She married her sweetheart, Sam Simpson, at St Vincent’s Church in September 1940 and they had three children.

Mary Sturman, who is celebrating her 105th brithday, with her husband Samuel and daughters Winnie and Margaret in 1955. Picture: Andrew Roe

Mary Sturman, who is celebrating her 105th brithday, with her husband Samuel and daughters Winnie and Margaret in 1955. Picture: Andrew Roe

Sam passed away in 1955 and Mary brought up her three children single-handedly – while working three jobs.

A talented cook, Mary said: “Everybody loved it when I made meat and potato pie, with rice pudding to finish.”

Mary found love again and remarried in 1977 to Harry Sturman. They spent eight happy years together until he died.

Mary said she has always loved bingo and is a dab-hand at penning poetry. These days, she enjoys word searches and sequin art and still manages to get to bingo occasionally.

On her birthday itself she enjoyed meeting the Lord Mayor Coun Talib Hussain, whom she got to spend some time with.

She delighted in the fact he told her she was the oldest woman in the city.

Daughter Margaret said: “She amazes us all and we’re very proud to be told she is the oldest woman in Sheffield.”

Do you somebody older than Mary? Let us know! Email news@thestar.co.uk