Fond memories of a long life as Edlington woman turns 105

Isabella Strutt received another royal birthday message on Monday
Isabella Strutt received another royal birthday message on Monday

Hard work is the secret to a long life, according to Doncaster resident Isabella Strutt.

She should know. Yesterday, the well-known woman celebrated her 105th birthday.

Isabella Strutt and husband William at the seaside

Isabella Strutt and husband William at the seaside

Friends and family from as far as Brighton gathered at Headingley Park care home at Edlington to help Isabella celebrate the milestone.

Nieces Betty Woodward and Isabelle Knight were there, along with Isabella’s granddaughter Estelle Hood and her family.

Isabella’s exciting life has taken her from working ‘in service’ at a Halifax stately home to Ghana, where husband William worked in the mines.

The fifth child of Horace and Mary Jane (Ginny) Wood, Isabella entered the world in a historic month - nine days after the RMS Titanic sunk during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.

Isabella Strutt turned 105 on Monday

Isabella Strutt turned 105 on Monday

Horace and Ginny had seven children: Mary, Ethel, Nellie, George, Isabella, Hilda and Lily.

The family lived on Victoria Road, Edlington.

Isabella went to Victoria Road School until the age of 13. She left to work at Hayes Mineral Waters at Hyde Park.

When she was 17, Isabella began work at Field House in Halifax, and was in service there for 10 years.

She remembered long hours.

“I had to do lots of hard work in service,” she said.

“Lots of cleaning and house work.”

She was a staff member there when she married William Strutt at Denaby Church on October 6, 1934.

They soon found themselves bound for Africa, living and working in Ghana.

They were there for 12 months, before returning to Edlington for three months.

The couple went back to Ghana for another three years.

Tidying up and cooking meals were among her main duties there, Isabella said.

She remembers a country with a climate vastly different to England’s, but Isabella said she wasn’t worried by the heat.

“It suited me,” she said.

“I liked the hotter weather.”

She also liked the local people. Isabella said Ghana was ‘like a holiday’.

“Everyone was very kind,” she said.

Upon their return, Isabella found herself back at Victoria Road School, this time as a cook.

She then worked at Hill Top School until she retired.

“Grandma worked really hard there as a dinner lady,” Estelle said.

Isabella and William had two daughters. Eileen was born on October 2, 1937 and Doreen followed on July 24, 1948.

Doreen and Anthony gave Isabella granddaughter Estelle in 1973.

Sadly, Isabella lost William in 1977.

She outlived both her children. Doreen died in 2000, and Eileen passed away in 2015.

A great-granddaughter, Eloise Isabella, came along in 2015.

Isabella has other great-grandchildren in the United States.

She has made some great friends in her time at Edlington.

Connie Parkin is one of them.

The two met while Connie worked at the Yorkshire Main Officials Club in Edlington.

Connie used to call on Isabella regularly.

“Meals on legs I was,” she said.

“She has lived in Edlington for a long time,” Estelle said.

“A lot of people in the village know her.”

The highlight of her day was receiving another letter from Queen Elizabeth II. Isabella’s first royal congratulations arrived on her 100th birthday in 2012.

“It had some beautiful photographs,” she said.

She had her first ride in a police car that day, on her way to a big party at Sir Thomas Wharton Academy.

The Chuckle Brothers were there that day, and the school kids put on a performance.

“All the children made a big scene,” Isabella said.

The Queen’s messages were appreciated, and Isabella liked to follow Her Majesty’s progress.

“I like to know she is getting on alright,” she said.

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