Meet Royston's Gladys - who flew a plane in her 80s - as she marks 100th birthday in style

PUBLISHED: 11:54 25 January 2020

Gladys Wragg celebrated her 100th birthday in Royston, with a party and telegram from The Queen. Picture: Sally Woodhouse

Gladys Wragg celebrated her 100th birthday in Royston, with a party and telegram from The Queen. Picture: Sally Woodhouse

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A Royston centenarian who celebrated her big birthday on Monday with a party surrounded by family and friends, has said her long life is down to "lots of laughter".

Gladys Wragg is originally from Manchester - she moved to Royston four years ago to be near her family.

Her mum was a seamstress and her father worked on the railway. Her leisure time was spent at Sunday school, choir practice, dramas, annual pantomimes, catering and scoring for the cricket team.

She was a member of the Girl Guides and loved swimming and reading. Swimming continued to be a favourite right into her 80s.

She left school in 1934 when she was 14 and worked in a jewellers shop, before starting work at the Waldorf Club Factory as a fancy box maker later in the same year. In 1939 they transferred to making aircraft instruments.

Between 1944 and 1957, she worked first as an assistant housemother then housemother in various boys' homes in Kent - and from 1957 to 1959 she had various positions as cook and housekeeper.

During this time she applied for a role at the home of future husband Fred, who she married in March 1960. They were married for 34 years until his death and she treats his children as her own.

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Fred and Gladys lived in 20 different homes throughout the country and abroad and she has joked that "she was never good with housework because she was always moving!"

As well as swimming, Gladys continued driving and even flew a plane during her 80s - with the pilot telling her she was a "natural".

Gladys moved from Milton Keynes to Royston to be near family in Letchworth and Baldock.

Her step-grandaughter Sally Woodhouse, who lives in Baldock and is a community midwife in Royston, said: "She keeps her memory very active with word puzzles still, there's nothing wrong with her brain.

"She's got an amazing memory. Up until two months ago she was using the internet, she would watch the telly and want to find out more about someone and would look them up like we all do now, she would use emails as well.

"She's always looking out for others - as a family we think she is amazing."

She was joined at her 100th birthday party on Monday by friends and family who had travelled from Manchester, Milton Keynes and within North Herts.

"She had a fabulous time and frequently says 'I've had a wonderful life' - She puts her long life and good health down to lots of laughter!" Sally added.

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