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Great-grandmother who has lived through two pandemics and two world wars celebrates 102nd birthday

By Jamie Brassington | Cannock | News | Published: | Last Updated:

She has lived through two pandemics and survived two world wars. It’s fair to say Lily Pritchard has seen the world change during her long life.

Lily Pritchard with flowers celebrating her 102nd birthday

Now the great-grandmother has marked her 102nd birthday.

"It's great to celebrate my 102nd birthday. I'm waiting for the third now," said Mrs Pritchard.

"I have lived a happy life. I had a lovely husband, three lovely boys. It has not been bad at all really."

Mrs Pritchard, of Birch Avenue, Cannock, celebrated the milestone at home alongside her eldest son, Richard, aged 78.

He moved in with his mother to look after her amid the Government lockdown due to coronavirus.

Richard, who lives in South Wales, said: "She says the main hardship of the lockdown is that she misses the hugs and kisses of her family, especially her great grandchildren.

"However, she keeps in touch with them all by phone. She particularly looks forward to phone calls from Australia from her son Graham [72], granddaughter and great-granddaughter."

Mrs Pritchard was born in Cannock as one of two children.

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Married

Two months before her birth, Spanish Flu broke out [which killed an estimated 50,000,000 people], which was the last global pandemic before the outbreak of Covid-19.

Richard said: "She lost her mother at the tail end of the Spanish Flu. I think it was due to Spanish Flu."

She met her future husband, Richard, during the 14-mile commute which she would cycle every day to work at a factory called Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Co, in Witton, Birmingham.

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The couple married at a church in Great Wyrley in 1940.

Mrs Pritchard got a job at British Reinforced Concrete Engineering, in Stafford, during the Second World War, where she became the became the "first woman to operate a crane loading the lorries, thus releasing men for war service," said Richard. "She had to give that work up when she became pregnant with her first son."

He continued: "After the war she had two other sons. Apart from raising them and looking after the home - as so many did in the 1950s and 1960s - she also did part time work where she often had two or three little jobs to make ends meet.

Hobby

"She laughs at the politicians and commentators who talk about modern day austerity."

Mrs Pritchard's main hobby is knitting and she can make a great array of items like sweaters, pullovers and cardigans.

She still knits to this day but mainly for charity. Mrs Pritchard donates little hats for premature babies and dolls for children in women's refuges.

Richard added: "For her 101st birthday, she said she did not want any presents. What do you give someone who is over 100?

"If anyone wanted to give her anything, she wished it to be a donation to the Air Ambulance. She ended up collecting £400 for this cause.

"In 102 years she has seen the world change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst. But mostly for the better."

Mrs Pritchard has three children, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She is a widow, having lost her husband 16 years ago

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Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Senior Multi-Media Journalist - @JamieB_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star. Contact me at jamie.brassington@expressandstar.co.uk.

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