Hard work and a bit of play the secret to happy and long life - Shrewsbury 100-year-old

By Mat Growcott | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Hard work and a bit of play is the secret to a happy and long life, one of Shrewsbury's latest 100-year-olds has said.

Ivy Eileen Strait

Ivy Eileen Stait, nee Jones, celebrated the landmark birthday at Bowbrook House in Bicton Heath on Wednesday, surrounded by her children Jean and Jacqueline, her grandsons Stuart and Alistair and her great grandchildren Connor and Charlotte.

Also present were all her nieces and nephews and friends of the family.

Ivy was born to doting parents Albert and Leah, and her family says she has been one of life's grafters.

During the Second World War, she worked in a munitions factory.

She saved up her ration tokens and queued from 6am, when she finished her shift, until 9am when the shop opened to buy a bottle of wine to celebrate when her husband returned home from his service in Egypt.

After the war, she started working at John Lewis in Birmingham in the sandwich bar.

Her family said: "The skills she learned, she passed on to us.

"Put in plenty of filling, cut out the seeds from the cucumber and make sure you spread the butter right to the very edge."


Next it was the childrenswear department at John Lewis and after her retirement, it was Clarkes fruit and veg shop in Kings Heath.

Even when she’d retired she was still working hard – helping out at her daughter Jean and husband David’s petrol station.

She worked in the cafe making sandwiches again.

Her time at the petrol station cafe was marked by her famous bread pudding, which brought cyclists from miles around for a Sunday morning snack on their weekly ride.


After her husband died and she moved to Premier Court in Birmingham, she continued working hard, but this time at partying.

"She was always in lounge," her family said.

"She was playing bingo, attending tea dances with her new friends, heading off on holiday and going on days out."

After a severe illness she moved to Shrewsbury from Birmingham and has been a resident at Bowbrook House for the last five years where even now, she still loves her days out.

Her birthday party was held in a private room at Bowbrook House.

Her family said: "She’s packed quite a lot of work in her 100 years – a very special woman on a truly special day."

Mat Growcott

By Mat Growcott
Reporter - @MGrowcott_Star

Shropshire Star reporter


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