Stoical 100-year-old celebrates in Rustington

Marjorie Smithson celebrates her 100th birthday. Photo by Derek Martin DM15115283a
Marjorie Smithson celebrates her 100th birthday. Photo by Derek Martin DM15115283a

UNTIL three years ago, Marjorie Smithson’s entire life had been spent in only a three-mile radius.

Born in Yorkshire, the fiercely independent mother of three had had a hard working life and had always been independent.

But at the age of 97, she took the difficult decision to move 270 miles south to be near her eldest daughter, Sandra.

Now happily settled at Abbotswood, a Saxon Weald complex in Station Road, Rustington, Marjorie turned 100 on Thursday and had a big party with family, friends and residents the next day.

Sandra said: “She attributes her 100 years to not drinking alcohol and enjoying her sweets and cake. She has always walked a lot and cycled to work every day.”

Marjorie worked in the woollen industry and mills all her life, first as a spinner and twister and later as a polisher, from the age of 14 to 67.

Her father, Frank Hodgson, was a musician and composer. He met her mother Nelly at Fountain Glass Works, in Roberttown village, near Huddersfield.

Marjorie was born in Roberttown and was the eldest of three children but both her brothers, Charlie and Ernest, have since died.

Her husband Horace, who died 25 years ago, was a window cleaner. They married on December 27, 1941, and had three children, Sandra, Diane and Tony.

Diane said: “She had lived in only a three-mile radius most of her life and has never flown. Her only trip abroad was when we took her by ferry to Belgium.

“She has had a hard working life and is very stoical. She has a very strong character and has always been fiercely independent but very kind. She has been a very loving mother.

“She is not one to be sat down not doing anything. She is not much of a talker but she is a great listener and great friend. She has always wanted to be with the ‘young ones’ as she calls them. When she was 90, she saw an advert for a gym in the local paper and started going three times a week. That tells you what sort of person she is.”

Marjorie loves bingo and watching snooker, and has been to lots of tournaments, many of them at The Crucible in Sheffield. She has ten grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

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