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Olive reaches grand age of 107

Olive Zelma Clayton celebrating her 107th birthday, surrounded by her telegrams from the Queen.

Olive Zelma Clayton celebrating her 107th birthday, surrounded by her telegrams from the Queen.

Olive Clayton has seen enough birthdays not to get too excited when another comes along.

So the ex-farmer’s wife was happy just to have a quiet day when she reached 107 earlier this month.

Son Philip, 65, said: “Mum had a big do when she was 100 but she wasn’t bothered about any fuss this time round.

“So there were a few flowers and a few callers but no party.”

Olive, from Garstang, is believed to be one of the oldest people in Lancashire. She was born Olive Zelma Jackson in Samlesbury, near Preston, in 1907 and she is one of only a few people still alive who can remember the outbreak of World War One.

As a seven-year-old in 1914, she and her family had just moved to a remote farmstead in Calder Vale near Garstang when Lancashire started to muster volunteers for a conflict most folk believed would be over by Christmas. “I don’t think there was anyone from her immediate family who went off to war,” said Philip, who now cares for his mother in Ashton, Preston. “And living out in the back of nowhere, I can’t imagine she would have come into contact with many people who were involved.

“So for her the war probably passed by fairly quietly.

“From what she’s told me it was a tough life. She worked as a dairymaid and she would often walk all the way to Garstang carrying hens to sell at the market.

“Despite it being a hard existence, maybe the country life was good for you. It was healthy, the food was good and it certainly didn’t do Mum any harm.

“She is still in reasonable health and although she is quite hard of hearing, she still has all her faculties.”

 

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