VIDEO: Thar she blows.. it’s 300 not out for trio

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  • by Nik Brear and Jess Bell

Hard work, good food – and plenty of cups of tea...that’s the secret to a long and happy life, according to three Sheffield centenarians.

Mary Sanderson, Emma Eagan and Norah Potts have all marked their 100th birthdays – and for great-great grandmother Mary there was only one way to celebrate... with a cup of tea!

“Mary dearly loves her cups of tea,” said former neighbour Clare Duroe, 27, who has known Mary for more than 20 years.

“She’s had a visit from the Mayor, a telegram from the Queen and, of course, lots of cake and tea.”

Mary, who wore a pink sash and had her armchair at Norwood Grange care home trimmed with birthday banners, said: “I’m not feeling bad at all for 100. I’m just going to sit here and let them all make a fuss!

“I’ve done plenty of hard work in my life, so maybe that’s it – or else it’s all the cups of tea.”

Mary, the eldest of seven children, was born in Dronfield and brought up in Woodseats. She was working as a domestic supervisor at the Northern General when she met and married Jim Sanderson. The couple lived for 65 years on Launce Road in Parson Cross.

Claire said: “My family moved next door to Mary in 1992, by which time she was already widowed, and we took an instant shine to her.

“She’s a real character and I have lovely memories of her taking me shopping on a Saturday when I was little. We’d go to Castle Market, where it seemed everybody knew her name, and she’d buy me sweets and introduce me to everyone.”

Former buffer girl Emma Eagan meanwhile marked her 100th birthday at Deerlands home in Parson Cross.

Emma was born in Owlerton, and worked as a buffer girl at Gladwins on Rockingham Street until she married first husband Wilfred Mitchell. Together they had Leonard but divorced after the war, and Emma later remarried Bill Eagan.

Son Leonard, 83, said: “Both my parents remarried which meant I suddenly had two mothers, two fathers and four grandmothers, so growing up I was utterly spoiled everywhere I went!

“I know how lucky I am to still have my lovely mum around after all these years, and my wife Doreen and I are thrilled to be with her.”

Leonard, of Wincobank, added: “Her sister Marion is also still alive and well at 101, so they’re an impressive pair!”

Meanwhile Norah Potts, who still lives independently in Arbouthorne, puts her long life down to ‘hard work and good food’.

The great grandmother– who married dancing partner John aged 20 – spent much of her life as a waitress and barmaid in pubs including The Steel Inn and Merry Monk.

She was working in the Royal Infirmary dining hall until she was 63 – and thinks work is one of the reasons for her good health.

“While I was working I was always healthy,” she said.

Born on Rockingham Street, Norah remembers growing up with her four brothers among the gangs and gambling which plagued Sheffield in the 1920s.

Even at 90 Norah jetted off on a month-long holiday around Australia.

Daughters Carol Hackett, 75, and Olga Spotswood, 78, are throwing a party tomorrow – with 150 guests travelling from across the UK for music and dancing.




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