Celebrating her century

SUDBURY GIRL: Gladys Andrews turned 100 on Tuesday.
SUDBURY GIRL: Gladys Andrews turned 100 on Tuesday.

A woman who has lived in Sudbury for 75 years marked her 100th birthday with family and friends on Tuesday.

Gladys Andrews celebrated the milestone at her home of three years in William Wood House and entertained the steady stream of well-wishers with stories from her life.

“After 75 years, I’ve got used to Sudbury,” she said. “Bury St Edmunds is my home town but I love The Croft and the water meadows.”

One of six children, she was born in Great Welnetham near Bury St Edmunds and attended school there until she was 14, when she started working in general service at a nearby farm.

Her attachment to Sudbury came about after going to a football match in Bury St Edmunds with her sister, Dulce.

“We were walking back from the match along Kings Road and two lads came past,” said Mrs Andrews.

“They called after us and we arranged to meet another time.”

One of the men was George Andrews, who lived in Ballingdon Street in Sudbury.

“I was backwards and forwards between home and George on my bike all the time,” she said.

“People told me I was daft but I said ‘You’ll do anything when you’re in love’.”

The couple married in February, 1938, and Mrs Andrews moved in with her husband.

They had a son, Trevor, seven years later and Mrs Andrews earned a living cleaning rooms at the hotel at what is now Gainsborough’s House.

“I worked there for years – I had to clean 12 bedrooms every day during the war,” said Mrs Andrews.

“I remember sitting in the cellar shelling walnuts when the planes were over Sudbury.”

She also worked at houses in Cavendish and in Bury St Edmunds, while her husband was a farm labourer. The couple were married for 32 years until George’s death in 1970.

Mrs Andrews has two granddaughters – Jenni Rowe and Jane Stannard, and a great-grandson Matthew, six.

Her sister Dulce, 93, and brother Dennis, 95, also visited her on Tuesday.

“I’ve had a nice life, with a lot of hard work,” she said.

“I suppose it shows that hard work doesn’t kill you.”