Chichester woman celebrates 106th birthday

A woman from Chichester is celebrating her 106th birthday.

Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 12:55 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 1:24 am
Kathleen Read

There can’t be many people in West Sussex who can remember the end of World War I, but Kathleen Read is no ordinary senior citizen.

She was born in London on August 4, 1910, and can remember two of her six brothers returning from the Front when the Armistice was called in November 1918.

She recalls seeing her father, a driver for the then British Railways, delivering goods to shops in Oxford Street by horse drawn van when the streets were full of khaki clad men.

Kathleen Read

Kath trained as a shorthand typist and telephonist, and married her late husband Jack in 1939.

She worked at Lots Road power station throughout World War II, cycling to work during the Blitz whilst Jack served in the Royal Navy.

In the 1970s, her husband died and Kath moved to Hampshire to be nearer to her two daughters and grandchildren.

She soon became integrated into the new area and worked hard for her local church in Clanfield.

She also became the enrolling member for the Mothers Union for several years.

Like many women of her era Kath never learned to drive a car.

However, not to be deterred by the demise of the local bus services she took to two wheels in her mid seventies and for years could be seen driving her small motor cycle around the villages and in to Petersfield to shop.

In her 105th year Kath agreed that she needed some help to assist in her day to day care and moved in to Hambrook Meadows Residential Home near Chichester.

It was here that the staff and her family held a splendid party to celebrate her 106th birthday. She opened her third birthday card from Her Majesty The Queen.

Kath’s daughter Elaine Leighton said: “We hope the Queen has not screwed on the top of her pen too tightly!”

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