Sheffield woman’s 100th birtthday all the fashion

Marjorie Wilkinson's 100th birthday party at Harry Ramsden's, Bournemouth with daughter Bunty and grandson Steve. Photo: Hattie Miles
Marjorie Wilkinson's 100th birthday party at Harry Ramsden's, Bournemouth with daughter Bunty and grandson Steve. Photo: Hattie Miles
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A stylish woman who spent decades bringing the latest European fashions to the people of Sheffield has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Marjorie Wilkinson was a fashion buyer specialising in gloves, hosiery and umbrellas for the Walsh’s department store based on the High Street in Sheffield.

Her job took her on frequent overseas business trips as she sought out the latest trends to bring back to sell to the people of South Yorkshire.

Marjorie was born in Milton Road, Nether Edge, Sheffield, on May 11, 1914, and was the daughter of cutlery manufacturer Herbert Brooksbank.

Walsh’s was part of the Harrods group and occupied the building now used by Poundland and SportsDirect, the home of TJ Hughes until 2012.

Marjorie worked for the firm for 27 years as an assistant buyer and then a buyer, starting in 1947 and retiring at the age of 60 in 1974.

Her grandson Steve Ford said: “She was very well travelled and often went to Paris, Germany, London and Ireland. Manufacturers would wine and dine her to try to sell their products.

“As a lady in the 1940s and 1950s, it was quite an achievement to travel on her own.”

She balanced her job with family life after getting married to tyre fitter Harold Wilkinson when she was 22.

Mr Ford said: “There was a family party arranged, and the story is it was a set-up situation because they were the only two people who were single.”

The couple had one daughter, Bunty, and later two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Harold died in 1971 and, during the 1980s and 1990s, Marjorie found love again with Ted Sayles, who died in 1993.

Marjorie, who now lives in Salisbury, celebrated her 100th birthday last weekend with a trip in a stretch limousine to a Harry Ramsden’s fish and chip restaurant in Bournemouth.

Steve said she had enjoyed a fish and chip birthday dinner as a reminder of her Northern roots.