'Take every day as it comes and keep smiling': Guilsfield woman celebrates her 100th birthday

Published date: 21 November 2016 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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The secret to living a long and healthy life is taking every day as it comes and keep smiling, according to a lady who has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Kathleen Somerville, from Guilsfield, celebrated her birthday with a group of friends and her weekly trip to the church service in the village, where happy birthday was sung to her.

Born in Arddleen, Mrs Somerville has enjoyed a long career in education, which has taken her all over the world.

She said: “We had a lovely party and I went to church.

“They wanted to sing but I didn’t think it was appropriate, but they made an exception as I was 100. It was a special moment for me.

“I had a long career and was a primary school teacher in Birmingham, which wasn’t a great place to be during the war.

“I then moved to Shrewsbury to teach, and my career then led me to Africa.”

Then, following the war Mrs Somerville and her husband Fred moved to Africa, where Fred was going due to work.

She continued her career, teaching in Nairobi and near Lake Victoria, an experience she never forgets.

She added: “I remember one time I was teaching the girls Scottish dancing, and they had never heard of it.

“And the ambassador's wife from the embassy came and joined in with us.

“It was a scary time out there, as they were fighting for independence, and my husband was involved in the voluntary police at the time, as well as his job.”

She returned from Africa to work in Lydbury North until she retired in 1979. At the end of her career she was struck down with a serious illness, and dragged herself back to the school to say her farewell to everyone.

Since then she has been involved in many community groups since moving to Guilsfield in 1995.

Recently on a trip with the Evergreens to Llandudno, she caught the bus, walked around the town all day, and walked back home from the bus stop later.

She received nearly 100 cards from well wishers, including from AM Russell George, who said: “When I asked what she puts her good age and health down to Mrs Summerville replied she lives each day as it comes. It was a real privilege speaking to such a remarkable woman.”

Other well wishers included MP Glyn Davies, First Minister Carwyn Jones and the Queen.

Mrs Somerville said: “I take each day as it comes and keep smiling.”

  • See full story in the County Times

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