'Inspirational' centenarian celebrates birthday with family

Watford Observer: Ellen Hetherington turns celebrates her 100th birthday with daughter Barbara Howard and granddaughter Suzanne Howard. Ellen Hetherington turns celebrates her 100th birthday with daughter Barbara Howard and granddaughter Suzanne Howard.

The generations gathered at Woodfields independent living scheme in St George Street, Watford, to mark the 100th birthday of Mrs Ellen Hetherington on Thursday last week.

Among the gifts received were a fragile but much treasured copy of the Daily Mirror published on the day she was born.

And, reflecting the incredible century of change that Ellen has lived through, she also chatted face to face with her niece in the North East of England by way of Skype.

She was presented with a number of other gifts, "enough flowers to open a florists" and a card from the Queen. She celebrated the day with more than 50 relatives and friends.

Commenting on her milestone birthday, she said she felt "no different today than she did years ago".

She said she remembered vividly growing up through two world wars, experiencing rationing and the incredible changes and innovations throughout the 20th century.

Her start to life however back on March 6, 1914 was touched by tragedy as her mother died in childbirth.

Despite that she had a full and happy childhood and attended St Andrew’s School in St John’s Road, Watford.

She worked on the Greycaine estate in Watford as a young woman and then moved to a position in Her Majesty’s Stationery Office in Wealdstone.

She remained living in Watford and met her husband to be, Eutric, who had come south from Craghead, County Durham, to find work as a bus driver.  They married at St Matthew’s Church in Oxhey.

After their daughter, Barbara was born and grew up, Ellen returned to work and took a position in the canteen at Orchard School, in Gammons Lane, Watford.

She remained there for 37 years before retiring at the age of 65.

Eutric died in November 1972, but Ellen keeps in contact with her extended family in the north of England and as well as daughter Barbara, she has two grandchildren, Sewart and Suzanne, and six great grandchildren, Anthony, Ben, Kathryn, Natasha, Kyle and Jake.

Tyson Martin, Independent Living Manager at Watford Community Housing Trust said: "Ellen is an inspiration to us all and it’s clear she is well loved by all her family. She’s reached her centenary year in great health and we wish her many happy returns."

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