Mischief and cheekiness help Irene reach 100

Still full of beans at 100.

That’s retired welder Irene Hebdon of Osgodby, who says the secret to longevity is simple: “be happy and try to be good”.

But a good dose of mischief and cheekiness also seems to have helped her live to such a ripe old age.

Irene seems to spend much of her time chuckling at life’s vagaries.

Her hearing may be poor but she can walk down a few steps and into her garden unassisted, to pose for a photo with her daughter and son-in-law, Pauline and Robin Newman.

The lively centenarian was born in Ely, Cambridgeshire, on 28 April 1919. Irene, who went to school in Bentham, near Lancaster, had two sisters, Kitty and Marjorie, and two brothers, Leslie and Kenneth.

When her parents bought the Rose Bower garage in Easingwold, the family moved into Yorkshire. She didn’t have far to look for a husband. Stanley Hebdon lived over the road.

Pauline says: “One day, he was carrying a ladder and Irene was cycling along the road and nearly knocked him over. He asked his father who the mad girl was and Stanley was told to be careful as her parents were very strict, although they weren’t. Stanley replied that he would marry her when she was 21 and he did”.

During the war, the couple lived in Cirencester, where he was a car mechanic and she worked in an engineering works. She learnt how to read blueprints and set up her own jobs.

After the war, Stanley got a job at Tesseyman’s Garage on the South Cliff in Scarborough. Irene worked for a dentist until Pauline was born. 

When Pauline was at school, at the convent in Queen Street, her mum worked at Premier Engineering and later at Trimet, becoming a spot welder. She lost an index finger when operating a machine and retired when Stanley passed away in 1992.

Pauline says: “She has always been a happy, cheeky, mischievous person and has always put other people first. For example, at work she would give the young lads her money and end up having to walk home”.

Irene celebrated her 100th birthday at the Mayfield Hotel in Seamer with 41 relatives and friends.