Gladys shares a lifetime of memories as she celebrates her 106th birthday

Gladys Angus in her Alnwick home.  Picture by Jane Coltman
Gladys Angus in her Alnwick home. Picture by Jane Coltman

Her granddaughter may be a famous artist, but Gladys Angus is a legend in her own right.

Born and bred in Alnwick, Gladys will celebrate her 106th birthday on Sunday, making her possibly the town’s oldest resident.

Gladys Angus and her grandaughter Stella Vine at a party for 100-year-olds at Alnwick Garden. Picture Jane Coltman

Gladys Angus and her grandaughter Stella Vine at a party for 100-year-olds at Alnwick Garden. Picture Jane Coltman

Gladys was born on Fenkle Street and, as a little girl, lived down the hill from the Bailiffgate Museum, where her granddaughter Stella Vine’s work is currently on show.

And she has lived around the town, spending many years at Clayport Gardens before she married her husband Tommy Angus.

Tommy, who fought in the Second World War and came back from Dunkirk, sadly died young and Gladys was left to bring up three children on her own, but she did a sterling job.

She lived with her daughter Ellenor for 53 years. Ellenor died aged 56 in 2003, and Gladys was bereft, but she carried on.

Her other daughter Brieta lives in Canada and bought her mum a house on Percy Terrace where she lived for much of her later life. She also has a son called Ray.

But now Gladys is at St Paul’s Court, and at the grand old age of 105, still lives independently with carers coming morning and evening to help out.

Gladys has seen so much over the last century in Alnwick. Not only has she lived through two world wars, but for her the town is much the same as it was, with a few more buildings and lot more people.

Gladys went to the National School and married Tommy in 1941, when he was on leave.

“I had always known him,” she said.

“I used to walk past his house every day. We got married during his days of leave from the war.

“He was a steel erector. We were married for over 20 years, but I didn’t marry again.

“Alnwick really doesn’t seem that different after all these years.

“There were horses and carts back in the day, so the cars are new, but I never learnt to drive.

“I suppose the size of it has changed, there are so many new buildings now.”

Gladys was the school secretary at St John’s First School for more than 30 years. She loved the work and loved the school.

“I just loved being there,” she said.

“It was really interesting and seeing all the children was just lovely.”

Gladys remembers making a lot of her own clothes in her younger years. But despite living through the war, and being on rations, she said: “I didn’t find it too bad.”

And Gladys has embraced new technologies.

She received a certificate at Durham Cathedral for taking part in a computer course, and even uses her own laptop to Skype family from time to time.

She still goes out for drives to country pubs with her family and she is very proud of her three children, seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren – some of which live in Mauritius.

And her secret to a long life? “There isn’t one,” she says.

“But I have always been active and I like a glass of sherry now and then.”

And of course, her independence is still very important to her.