Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Former nurse who once got tiddly on TV show

MABEL MARY ROBINSON died peacefully in her sleep, aged 107.

MABEL MARY ROBINSON died peacefully in her sleep, aged 107.

She was born in Pantscallog, South Wales, on September 3, 1905.

Mabel left school at 14 and went to the Royal Nursing College in London where she completed her studies and by 1929 had become a fully registered nurse, district nurse and midwife.

Mabel worked in London until 1943, when she secured a position as a district nurse and midwife in Banbury.

Two years later, she began working in the Henley district and in 1946 she was allocated the first bungalow to be built in Westfield Crescent, Shiplake, where a special lean-to was added for a surgery.

She loved her new home from the start and lived there for 63 years, not leaving it until she was 104.

Mabel loved the midwifery side of her career and probably delivered more than 1,000 babies in the Henley area.

She met her husband Bill, who was a chef in the RAF, in 1951. They married in 1952 and were together for 41 years. They enjoyed many fantastic cruise holidays because of Bill’s love of the sea. Mabel was 88 when Bill passed away but this did not stop her zest for life.

Being a very feisty little lady with plenty of spirit, she started doing “other” things.

She was an ardent fan of Daniel O’Donnell and travelled all over the country with her good friend Cissy to watch his concerts and even visited his home town in Ireland.

The singer got to know her personally and used to walk up the aisle to find her in his audiences and he always sent her birthday cards. She was also an active member of the Rosemary Club, Women’s Institute and Henley Luncheon Club as well as an avid supporter of the Red Cross.

Mabel regularly visited her birthplace, enjoying seeing her cousins and spending holidays with them.

She was 99 when she passed a computer course and may have been the oldest person to achieve this.

Her other claim to fame was her TV career in the form of a regular slot on BBC 2’s Food and Drink programme with Antony Worrall Thompson, wine tasting on a Thames barge.

Mabel loved a tipple but made the mistake of more than “tasting” on her first programme, rather enjoying the whole glass.

She had to be escorted home and put to bed! In subsequent programmes, she did just “taste” the various wines.

When Mabel reached 100, she had a ride in a horse-drawn barge on the Thames and went up in a hot air balloon, really enjoying her flight over Oxfordshire — quite an achievement for a centenarian.

Another birthday treat was a holiday to Banbury, where people recognised her and wanted to talk to her.

Even the local press came to interview her for an article about her time nursing during the Forties. Mabel found this very exciting but took it all in her stride.

Mabel was a very kind, caring and thoughtful person. She was such a character and an inspiration to all who knew her. Loved by many, Mabel will be sadly missed.

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