Pioneering former Bridgnorth headteacher Nancy is chalking up her 100th birthday

Days away from reaching her 100-year milestone, one soon-to-be centenarian has recalled how she once became the youngest headteacher in Shropshire.

Centenarian Annie Maud Allen, better known as Nancy
Centenarian Annie Maud Allen, better known as Nancy

Born September 15, 1919, Annie Maud Allen, known better as Nancy, is preparing to celebrate her 100th birthday over the weekend with an open house party attended by friends, neighbours, family and former students.

Guests are travelling from as far as Spain and Belgium to make the event, which gives visitors the chance to drop in to her house throughout the day for a quick cup of tea or a lengthy afternoon celebration.

But primary school hours are the familiar hosting times for the former St Leonards Primary School teacher, who has lived in Bridgnorth for more than half her life.

She said: "As well as St Leonards, I used to take evening classes for the Endowed schools, Oldbury Wells School and the college when it was there.

"I was an English teacher and I absolutely adored it. I taught from a very young age and there was nothing else I ever wanted to do.

"I came to teach the senior boys until one day I was asked to teach the girls.


"I knew it was a good opportunity so I took the position and became the youngest head in the whole of Shropshire, being in my early 20s."

Nancy, who was also an active member of Bridgnorth Ladies Luncheon Club, said she is often stopped on the street by former students.

Married to Larry Allen, a Second World War veteran who died in 2006, the pair had three daughters, Christine, 61, Jane 62 and Kath 63.

Christine said: "She taught most of Bridgnorth and it's hard to get out the house without her being recognised.

"She was born on a farm in North Wales in 1919, I think that's enough to make you hardy – she lives on her own in a nice house and still does all her own shopping and cooking, it's quite remarkable really."

Nancy added the secret to her long life was having a loving husband, as well as a varied diet.

"I still eat butter and I still have full cream milk, I think that's the trick to my long life," she said.

Her granddaughter, Jessica Hayes, said: "She's a very headstrong person. She's very caring and very determined. She's still going strong, maintaining quite a big house and I've no idea how she does it."

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