Cheery Ida is 100 not out

Ida with seven-year-old Kimberly Blunden and other family members
Ida with seven-year-old Kimberly Blunden and other family members

A message from the Queen was the icing on the cake as Ida Clarke celebrated her 100th birthday.

The Wolston centenarian reached the landmark last Friday and was joined by four generations of her family to mark the occasion.

Daughter Marilyn said it had come as a great surprise to her when the card landed on the doorstep, accompanied by a similar message from Work and Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith.

“She wasn’t expecting it,” said Marilyn. “She nearly cried – it really made her day.

“She said ‘ooh, it’s from the Queen’.”

Ida, a keen knitter, still loves to read romantic novels and watches soaps on television. She enjoys her collections of teddies and china dolls and was full of smiles surrounded by her family which includes eight grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.

Ida was mother to four children, Marilyn having three brothers, Brian, Peter, and Barry, although Barry sadly died aged just 52.

Her first job was at Bluemels Brothers Ltd in Wolston where her grandfather was the chief fire officer.

Born in Stretton-on-Dunsmore, she met and fell in love with future husband Jim ‘Nobby’ Clarke while in service to Captain Twist at the Manor House in Stretton, having previously worked for the Beech family at Ansty Hall. They married at All Saints Church in 1934.

They made their first home in Terry Road in Coventry before moving to Stretton Road in Wolston and it was there that she gave birth to the first of her children, Brian.

Jim passed away in December 1996.

She has lived in the village for more than 70 years and was an active member of the Wolston Women’s Institute and a chorister at St Margaret’s Church in the village.

When times were hard she worked in the fields picking peas, potatoes and turnips and then later in life returned for a second spell at Bluemels.

Later, bored with retirement, she returned to work at Brandon Hall Hotel with husband Jim.

She has overcome a broken ankle and more recently a fractured hip but bore both with the same cheery smile and quick wit she still displays today.

Ida is the eldest of Mr and Mrs Pearce Edmans’ five children.

“I’ve had a lovely day,” she said.