Memories mark Mabel’s century

CENTENARIAN Mabel Wright with family and friends at her 100th birthday party. Picture: Malcolm Wells (1397-4394)
CENTENARIAN Mabel Wright with family and friends at her 100th birthday party. Picture: Malcolm Wells (1397-4394)
Picture: Shutterstock

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Memories of the 100 years of Mabel Wright’s life filled Bedhampton Social Hall at the weekend as her family and friends helped her celebrate the landmark birthday.

Items including her birthday certificate, ration book, National Registration Identity Card and marriage certificate were displayed for all the guests to see.

The mementos brought back fond memories for Mabel, who lives in The Lodge in Bedhampton.

Mabel Ostman was born on January 9, 1913 in Portsmouth, and mainly grew up in Fratton and Southsea.

She started work at 13 sweeping and cleaning the floor in a bakers and she went on to work at Kimbles, a restaurant and dance hall in the city.

When she was 15, she met a chief petty officer in the navy, George Wright, and married him when she was 20 in 1933.

During the Second World War while George was away, Mabel moved a lot with her young family to get away from the threat of bombing, including living in places such as the Isle of Wight, Tolworth and Rottingdean.

Her son, Kenneth, who lives in Birdham, Chichester, says: ‘They went on to have me and Joan during the war, and Janet after the war.

‘It was normal for us not to see much of our father. I think we saw him three times during the war.

‘He didn’t come back until the end of 1945. Until then she had the whole responsibilty of two children and as a result I went to five different primary schools, although I still managed to get into grammar school!’

After the end of the war, Mabel went on to run a restaurant with George, then a guest house in Southsea.

Today, Mabel has seven grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.

Kenneth says: ‘Some of them are in Australia but they came over for the party. She’s had a tough life, but she’s always pulled through.’

To celebrate, Mabel’s family and friends threw her a big party, with a special 100th birthday cake. Kenneth adds: ‘We wanted to make it a really big thing, especially because we think she’s the first person in our family to reach 100.’