Peggy was given seven hours to live, 100 years ago

Words and photos by Dave Barry 

Peggy Poole was given seven hours to live when she was born.

She weighed only two and a half pounds and pediatric care was nowhere near as advanced as it is today.

Happily, she defied the prediction and recently celebrated her 100th birthday.

Peggy was born at her parents’ home in Beechville Avenue, Scarborough.

Master carpenter Thomas Hunter and his wife Christiana, who later lived in Crossgates, had two more daughters who have also reached a grand age: Edna Morris is 98 and Muriel Moulson is 95.

Despite living away for many years, Peggy is “Scarborough through and through”, according to her niece Hazel Braimbridge.

Peggy attended Central School, which was off Trafalgar Street West. She met her late husband Leslie in the forces, during the war. She was in the Naafi and he was in the fifth regiment of the Green Howards, which was based in the town.

After being evacuated from Dunkirk, Leslie fought in the North Africa campaign. He was captured and spent three years as a prisoner-of-war.

The couple married at Queen Street Central Hall in 1947 and lived in Red Scar Drive, Newby. Peggy trained as a tailor at Rowntrees on Westborough.

They moved to Lepton near Huddersfield, where Leslie worked for ICI and Peggy laboured at a fireworks factory.

In 1968, the couple moved to Carlton near Goole to help Peggy’s sister Edna run a B&B. The guests were mostly workmen at the nearby Drax power station.

They moved to Wells in Somerset in 1969, to run a tea room; to Boscombe near Bournemouth in 1971, to run a small hotel; and to Southbourne near Bournemouth in 1978.

In 1979, they retired and returned to Scarborough, to live in Northstead Manor Drive. They didn’t have children. Leslie died about 20 years ago.

Today, the centenarian lives at warden-controlled Sandybed Court, on Lisvane Rise, with carers calling five times a day.

“But she’s still with it”, says Hazel, referring to her aunt’s mental acuity. “She’s an amazing lady who used to go round at a gallop. She used to bake the world’s greatest gingerbread. Nobody could beat auntie Peggy's parkin”.

Peggy used to love knitting and snooker but both pleasures have been taken from her by failing eyesight.

“She’s very sociable, she loves to chat to people”, Hazel says. “She’s such a happy soul and takes every day as it comes”.

For her 100th birthday, Peggy received a card from the Queen, a telegram from work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd and a visit from the borough mayor, Cllr Joe Plant.