“I don’t feel 100... I could do with some new legs though.”
Those are the words of Mary Mayo Burton, known as May, spoken in her still-strong Cockney accent, of her centenary celebration yesterday (Wednesday).
Her 100-year life span includes the sinking of the Titanic and two world wars.
It was during World War II that her two young girls, Jeanette and Shirley, were evacuated from the family’s south-east London home to Birstall.
And on their many visits north, May and her husband Arthur fell in love with Birstall.
In 1948 the couple, then also parents to Allen and Robert, were offered the chance to buy a small grocery shop in Bradford Road, which saw the family leave its London roots for a life up north.
“I was working until 7pm, and it was blooming hard,” she remembers.
“It’s no joke when I say I’ve worked hard all my life. But I’m happy for it; it’s kept me going.”
May, who still lives in Bradford Road, carried on working at the shop after Arthur’s death in 1965, and retired 40 years ago.
The poorliest of five children, May said she wasn’t sure why she’d lived so long.
“The doctors thought I was consumptive,” she said. “Look at me now!”
As a Jehovah’s Witness, May doesn’t celebrate birthdays, but will celebrate her ‘big day’ with her family on Saturday.
“I’m going to go mad,” she promised.
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Weather for Batley
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 12 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: East
Temperature: 12 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West