Family gather in Westgate to celebrate Gladys Hurst’s 100th birthday

Gladys celebrates her century today (January 9)

A former teacher of special needs pupils who put herself through evening classes celebrates her 100th birthday today (January 9).

Gladys Hurst, who lives at Eaton Lodge in Westgate, will be joined by family from across the country and New Zealand to mark her special day.

Gladys- nee Mead – was born on January 9, 1919, near the Elephant & Castle in Southwark, South London.

When she was 20 she married harry Hurst and the couple had two sons -Michael and Chris – who were brought up in Catford, London.

During World War Two Gladys worked on the switchboard at Rotherhithe Fire Station. After the war she became a teacher’s assistant at a special needs school.  She got her qualifications at evening classes and became deputy head at Greenvale School in Forest Hill, London which was a brand new, purpose-built school for the intellectually handicapped.  She moved to acting head until her well earned retirement some 40 years later.

Gladys and Harry moved to Broadstairs in 1982. One of Gladys’ six sisters ran a boarding house in the town. Harry also had a love of the isle after being sent to Ramsgate after he was orphaned.

Harry passed away in 1991 but Gladys remained active, enjoying visits to New Zealand where Michael and his family had moved to, Canada to visit a sister and also Spain. But she also loved life in Botany Road and used to regularly walk her dogs at The Ridings.

Gladys son Chris, who lives in Broadstairs, said: “Mum’s very clever, she put herself through night school to get a degree. She was driving up until she was 88 and really loved her dogs and taking them out on The Ridings.”

Gladys, who loves music by Elvis, has 5 much-loved grandchildren -two  in New Zealand and three in the UK – and eight great-grandchildren.  Her eldest granddaughter Tracy has flown from New Zealand to celebrate the big day with her.

The year Gladys was born:

George V was on the throne

David Lloyd George was the coalition Prime Minister

3 January – soldiers blockade Folkestone harbour in a successful protest against being returned to France

27 February – marriage of Princess Patricia of Connaught to Commander The Hon. Alexander Ramsay, the first royal wedding at Westminster Abbey since the 14th century

3 April – Government agrees to begin release of imprisoned conscientious objectors

28 June – Treaty of Versailles signed.

18 July – The Cenotaph in London is unveiled to commemorate the dead of World War One

19 July – Peace Day: victory parades across Britain celebrate the end of World War One

31 July Police strike in London and Liverpool for recognition of the National Union of Police and Prison Officers.

11 November – First Remembrance Day observed with two minutes silence

1 December – Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor becomes the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons, and the second to be elected, having stood at the Plymouth Sutton by-election on 28 November to succeed her husband as a Unionist member

15 December – Meat rationing ends