Royston woman celebrates 100th birthday after living in town for 53 years

Mary Taylor, who has lived in Royston for 53 years, is celebrating her 100th birthday

Mary Taylor, who has lived in Royston for 53 years, is celebrating her 100th birthday - Credit: The Taylor family

A Royston woman who served in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force is celebrating her 100th birthday.

Mary Taylor was born on April 14, 1921 at St Bees, Cumberland (now Cumbria) - the eldest of three children born to William and Ethel Irving.

When Mary left school she went to work for the local vicar, the Reverend Alfred Ainley and his wife, at St Bees vicarage. The vicar retired in 1940, and Mary moved with them to Cockermouth as a companion to his wife, and became part of the family.

In 1942, Mary volunteered for the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, and spent four years at RAF Hospital Ranceby. Afterwards she returned to the Ainley family, and joined the church choir and harmonic society.

When Revd Ainley died Mary moved with Mrs Ainley to Keswick, and spent six years working part-time at a mobile library.


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When Mrs Ainley was 90 years old, Mary walked up a large hill in Keswick with her, and her wish for her own 90th birthday was to do the same - so her family took her to climb the hill and she apparently reached the top with ease, with her family all puffing and panting behind her.

After Mrs Ainley's death Mary moved to Balls Park College Hertford as a live-in assistant matron, where she met her husband Bob. They got married in 1967 and Mary returned to the college as a library assistant.

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The couple moved to Royston in 1968. Through Bob, Mary gained a stepson Robert and a daughter-in-law Pamela, and eventually granddaughters Vikki and Beccy and great-grandchildren Sophia and Declan, with whom she is very close.

Mary also worked part-time in Royston Library for nine years, becoming well-known in the town. 

A fall two years ago brought an end to Mary's ability to travel, which she previously loved, and now she is cared for at home.

Her family said: "Mary is just the most amazing and special lady, who up until two years ago had been an active member of the church, W.I, ladies luncheon club, book club, walking club, Church Watch and National Trust to name but a few.

"She has also been a supporter of many charities. A few years ago she rather surprisingly took up playing the ukulele at 93 and has played with the wonderful ukulele group run by Jean Eames, to many local venues and care homes."

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