Express & Star

One of the Black Country's oldest residents dies aged 107

Tributes have been paid to one of the Black Country’s oldest residents who has died at the age of 107.

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Family and friends of Gertrude Talbot gathered at Holy Trinity Church in Bilston for the service.

Staff from The Elms residential care home, based on Regent Street, where she lived for the last six years were also at the service.

Gertrude Talbot celebrating her 107th birthday at The Elms, Bilston, earlier this year

Gertrude was born on August 15 1910. She died on November 27.

She spent her entire life in Bradley and Bilston and was born into a family of 11 children, with eight sisters and three brothers.

She was the third eldest and is survived by her younger sister Ruby who lives in Gloucestershire along with two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

She married her husband Bill in 1938 and together they had their only child, Peter in 1940.

Bill, who worked at Goodyear, died aged 47, from lung cancer.

An avid walker, Gertrude walked to and from her then home in Bank Street, Bradley, every day in the 1940s and 50s to provide for her family.

She spent 10 years working as a cook for the vicar of a Holy Trinity Church – where her funeral took place – and also worked at Guest Keen Nettlefold (GKN), making nuts and bolts for over a decade.

During the funeral on Wednesday, the congregation heard of how the world has changed since Mrs Talbot’s birth, from the epic journey of Sir Robert Scott to the sinking of the Titanic and the outbreak of the World Wars. They heard how she faced the challenges of a new steam iron, humorously dealt with dozens of potted plants and would walk from her home to Bilston Market regularly.

Gertrude's son Peter talking at her funeral

Speaking at her funeral, son Peter said: “I have many vivid memories of my mother in the 1940s walking from our home to the market with the accumulator which she needed to get batteries for. And as we were walking, I noticed a group of men digging a trench.

“They stopped as my mother walked past. They were wearing forage caps and I later learned that these were German prisoners of war. If we think about how much my mother lived through, it was truly remarkable.

“To become a centenarian with all your faculties, language and mobility is a real achievement, and to get to 107 is such a bonus. She was so well-loved but the time has sadly come now for us to let her go.”