War Widow Celebrates Her 100th Birthday

A Staffordshire Moorlands woman who was widowed during the Second World War has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Doreen Mary Hart of Shirley Street, Leek, Staffordshire was born in John Street, Leek on November 14 1920.

She has one daughter, Hilary, two grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

During most of her working life Doreen was employed as a box maker at two Leek mills.

Sadly, Doreen’s husband Herbert George Hall, died during the Second World War in Tunisia, aged just 27.

In 1998 the family visited Herbert’s grave in Tunisia with a trip organised by the Royal British Legion.

Doreen remarried in 1953, to Edward Hart, but he sadly died in 1961.

Over the last hundred years Doreen said that she had seen many changes.

Doreen, who has been a life long member of Trinity Church, said: “I have seen many changes in my life. When I was young no one had electricity, cars, televisions, telephones and there was no foreign travel for holidays. Technology has also been a major change in the country.

“I can remember being at the opening ceremony of the Nicholson War Memorial in Leek and I can also remember the houses where I live being built many years ago.

“I think the NHS is great and communication is much better. There is also care in the community to help people theses days.”

Daughter Hilary, said: “When we visited my dad’s grave in Tunisia, it was a very emotional time. My mum’s dad served in World War One. My mother also has a sister living in America, aged 95.

“Due to the coronavirus and the lockdown we can’t have a family party. Relatives, friends and neighbours were just able to give her a wave at the window.”

Granddaughter, Rachel Craven, said: “It’s so sad that, due to the current restrictions on travelling and being together, my brother, myself and our families can’t be with her to celebrate such a special event. We’re all looking forward to being able to have a party in the future. It’s a good incentive for her to look forward to it.”

Last Friday, the day before her birthday, Doreen received a special 100th birthday celebration card from the Queen.