Born on April 24 1922, Mabel was born in Attercliffe, Sheffield – a city she has lived in for her entire life.
She marked her big day on April 22 this year, with loved ones and neighbours, celebrating a century of an incredible life with fascinating stories from the highs and lows of her 100 years in Sheffield so far.
Mabel has a large family with her husband Charles, who died in 2005 after 65 years of happy marriage. She has three children, five grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and five great great grandchildren.
Mabel attended two schools in her youth, firstly at Langsett Road School before joining Burton Street School where the popular Sheffield film, The Full Monty, was filmed.
At age 14, Mabel began working as a mirror polisher at one of the Little Mesters before moving to a job on Penistone Road a year later, where she worked on a rumbling machine.
In 1940, during the second world war, Mabel married her childhood sweetheart, Charles Ash – this is Mabel’s fondest memory from her life. Charles and Mabel had known each other for years before their marriage, before tying the knot at a traditional church setting in Sheffield.
Mabel and Charles weren’t the only one shaking with nerves at the wedding – with the vicar also nervous due to it being his first wedding ceremony, making it an incredible occasion for all.
After their marriage, Charles was drafted to fight in the army during the war as part of the British Expedition force, and didn’t return home to Mabel until 1945 at the end of the war. Charles saw active service during D-Day, where British forces began their liberation of France with the biggest seaborne invasion in history.
Mabel remembers vividly the day the war ended in Europe and her husband returned home. She was at home with her eldest daughter Pat when screams of ‘the war is over’ could be heard.
The next door neighbour’s husband came home first, but knocked on Mabel’s door believing it was his house, getting the wrong house in a memory Mabel looks back on in laughter.
Before beginning their family, the couple owned a tandem bike together that they would ride round in the countryside and in Derbyshire with a local cycling group.
In one happy memory with the tandem, Mabel and Charles were riding down the hill with another couple close by when they realised their brakes on the bike had gone. The couple went flying down the hill at rapid speed, worrying the other couple. “What an earth were you doing Charlie?” exclaimed the couple when Mabel and Charles reached the bottom.
They came out unscathed from the incident and they continued many biking adventures together throughout the years.
After 65 years of marriage, Charles died in 2005 – but Mabel still has her loving family taking care of her.
In 2018, Mabel remembers the day she felt like a queen when visiting Buckingham Palace. Having to use the front gates of the palace due to parking shortages, Mabel and her daughter entered the palace through the front, and with members of the public waving at her, she said she truly felt like she was the Queen.
Mabel has also had the honour of meeting Martin Kemp, the British actor and musician, in 2016. After seeing a huge photo of him at the front of a shop, they waited in the queue for a meet and greet, and Mabel got a fantastic photo with the celebrity.
Mabel moved to her current home at The Meadows in March 2020, but unfortunately spent two years in isolation in her flat due to the pandemic, meaning she missed out on all the social life and activities the home had to offer.
Now, two years on, Mabel is finally enjoying life at The Meadows with her friends and family. Mabel is constantly going down the corridor chatting to her neighbours and friends, and often joining in the activities and clubs.
Recently, Mabel attended a ‘sing-along’ not knowing it was a full blown karaoke, but nevertheless, thoroughly enjoyed the evening anyway.
On Sunday April 24, unknown to herself, Mabel’s family and friends had planned a huge surprise party to celebrate her 100th birthday.
A total of 80 people attended her party at Kenwood Hall in a day Mabel will never forget, She had a big cake and enjoyed the bustling atmosphere with the people she loves.
Instead of birthday gifts, in Mabel and her family’s kind nature, they decided to instead donate all the money gifted to her and give it to three charities, Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, Cancer Research and British Heart Foundation. They have so far raised over £600 for the charities in honour of Mabel’s birthday.
In another lovely surprise for Mabel, her daughter, Pat, put in for her telegram from Queen Elizabeth for her 100th birthday, which she received on the week of her birthday and now sits proudly on the table in her home.
Mabel is still enjoying life to the fullest and is a very-well respected member of The Meadows by all the residents there. She is the first female resident of the home to reach her 100th birthday there.
A message from one resident said: “Well done to a very popular and respected friend and neighbour - with many more happy birthdays to come.”