Thursday, 23 September 2021

Contented mind is secret of long life, says centenarian

A WOMAN who tested binoculars in Henley during the Second World War has celebrated her 100th

A WOMAN who tested binoculars in Henley during the Second World War has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Hilda Hanson was thrown a party at Sonning Golf Club on Sunday, the day before her big day, which was attended by about 100 friends and members of her family.

Mrs Hanson, who lived most of her life in Henley and Wargrave and now lives in Woodley with her daughter Wendy Goff, has 15 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren.

Mrs Goff organised the party with the help of the family.

She said: “There were about 100 guests ranging from two weeks old up to my mum’s age. People we had not seen for a while were there. Mum has one remaining cousin and she was there. She thoroughly enjoyed it.”



Mrs Hanson’s son, John, 66, said: “I can’t believe Mum has lived to 100. She has been a blinding Mum to me and my sisters. She never complains. The whole family loves her to bits.”

Mrs Hanson was born in 1915 to Kate and Cornelius Adby in Stokenchurch, the second youngest of eight children.

Her father was a farmhand and his place of work changed regularly, so the family moved around a lot before settling in Harpsden Road, Henley.

Mrs Hanson took her first job when she was 14, working for the Dunbar Kilburn family in Harpsden. She was then a parlour maid for the Hannah family at Hambleden Manor but this work was interrupted by the Second World War.

During the conflict she was a binocular tester based at Phyllis Court and then Shiplake memorial hall.

Mrs Hanson said: “We had to use the binoculars to watch a fire and they had us practise by crawling through a tent with them.”

She met her husband George at a dance on March 26, 1943.

Mrs Hanson recalled: “I was a little concerned at first when I saw he had a beer bottle in his pocket but he soon put my worries at ease when he told me it was not his but it belonged to a friend.” Mr Hanson, from Marlow, worked on the railways.

The couple married at Trinity Church in Henley on June 10, 1944.

Mrs Hanson said: “Unfortunately there are only two photos from the day. One is with my brother Charles who gave me away and the other is of our wedding cake.”

Their first child Jean was born nine months later and soon afterwards the couple moved to Manor Road, Wargrave. Daphne followed two years later and John 18 months after that.

Mrs Hanson said: “When John was born we hung a Union flag out of the bedroom window as he was the first Hanson boy of his generation.” Wendy was born in 1954 and the family moved to Highfield Park, Wargrave, where Mrs Hanson stayed for almost 50 years.

She worked at Phyllis Court Club where she provided “silver service”.

She said: “I worked there for over 20 years and I would do extra hours serving at lunch time and, of course, during the regatta.”

She was widowed in 1993.

Mrs Hanson said: “The key to living so long is a contented mind, which keeps you at peace with the world.”

Her niece Joan Taylor, 82, who was a guest at the party, said: “She’s so smiley and happy. Looking at her you would never think she is 100.”



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