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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Ponteland: Guild founder dies on her 100th birthday

A CENTENARIAN who brought up four children alone and cheated death three times during her lifetime, has died on her 100th birthday.

Mary Robson, (pictured) of Ponteland, died on the morning of her centenary celebrations, on August 2.

She had been due to attend four parties that day held in her honour, and sadly missed out on receiving the message of congratulations from the Queen that she had so been looking forward to.

Born Mary Storey, in Ryal, just days before the outbreak of World War One, on August 2, 1914, she married stonemason Harold Robson in 1936.

Four children soon followed and the family lived in estate cottages at Matfen Hall and Lambton Castle where Harold worked.

Harold died in 1950 after contracting pneumonia and Mary was left to bring up Hugh, David, Betty and Frank alone.

She moved to Ponteland in 1970 to be near her daughter, Betty Renwick and her husband, Michael, and soon became well-known in the community.

A grandmother of ten and great grandmother of ten, Mary was one of the founder members of Ponteland’s Townswomen’s Guild and an active member of St Mary’s Church.

Betty said: “She was always very independent, even though she was diagnosed with macular degeneration and arthritis over 20 years ago.

“I helped her, but it’s only in the last two years that she had carers coming to her house.

“Anyone else would have given up, but she was quite determined to stay in her own home.

“There have been three occasions in her life when it was touch and go whether she would survive.

“When she was 13 she had rheumatic fever and doctors gave her a life expectancy of just ten years, then in 1952 she contracted meningitis and shortly after that she was in a hotel fire in Ilfracombe.

“So she cheated death three times, and then death cheated her by not letting her see out her 100th birthday.”

As well as her much-anticipated card from the Queen, Mary also received a telegram from Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith and about 80 birthday cards from family and friends. Sadly she died before she could open them.

A private burial and service of celebration was held at St Mary’s Church, Ponteland, on Tuesday.

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