Rose Smith celebrates her 100th birthday

Rose Smith who celebrates her 100th birthday today pictured with her sons, from left, Des, 77, David, 66, and Michael, 73

Rose Smith, second left, pictured as a four year old in 1918 with her sister Violet, six, her brother, Richard, two, and her mother, Alice Potter, 28

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A woman whose working life took in a country house, a chocolate factory and a dairy turns 100 today.

Rose Lavinia Smith will celebrate her centenary surrounded by family and friends.

Mrs Smith has lived the majority of her life in the York area, taking a keen interest in the upkeep of her home of 50 years in Acomb, and her garden.

Mrs Smith was born on March 10, 1914, in Bubwith, near Selby. Her mother, Alice, died of Spanish flu when she was only four years old.

Her son David said: “This tragic event had a lasting effect on Rose which is still prevalent today in the need to care for the children of the family.”

Her father, a railway signalman, remarried and moved the family to Easingwold, where Rose collected tips from farmers for operating an unmanned railway crossing.

She left school at 14 and went into service for the blind vicar of Brafferton, the Rev McNeil.

She went on to work at Moreby Hall, near Escrick, becoming head housemaid and ladies’ maid.

It was while here that she met Alwyn, who worked at nearby Skipwith Hall. They married in 1934, and lived together until Alwyn’s death 17 years ago.

Together they had three children, Desmond, Michael and David, and Rose now has seven grandchildren and ten great grandchildren.

Mrs Smith and Alwyn lived near Castleford, before moving to Holgate in York around the start of the Second World War.

David said: “She recalls the house was the only one in the street with no electricity, only gas, which was useful in the war years as there were frequent electricity power cuts.”

Mrs Smith went on to work at Rowntree’s factory – her favourite chocolate being the Black Magic brazil nut – and Halls Dairy, where she met close friend Mrs Ryder.

They remained friends until Mrs Ryder’s death two years ago, and both families keep in touch. The party takes place at Acaster Malbis Memorial Hall today.

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