Happy 100th birthday Gladys!

Francis Ockleshaw with his mother Gladys Hampson during one of their regular trips too see the ducks at the River Witham.
Francis Ockleshaw with his mother Gladys Hampson during one of their regular trips too see the ducks at the River Witham.
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The eldest of 16 children who says she has never drunk alcohol or smoked in her life, is celebrating her 100th birthday today (Saturday).

Gladys Hampson who resides at Castlegate House care home, will be celebrating the milestone on December 27 with members of her large family and friends in Westborough.

However even at this momentous party she won’t be treating herself to a tipple, and it is this which her family believe must be behind Gladys’ longevity.

Her son Francis Ockleshaw said: “I think that must be the secret to her reaching 100. And she has never smoked.”

Francis, aged 78, sees his mother every day and, weather permitting, takes her to feed the ducks on the stretch of the River Witham near the care home.

Spending so much time to gether is particularly important to the two of them following the death of Gladys’ only other child, her daughter Elizabeth.

Moreover, having lived for many years in Australia, Francis wants to make the most of being back in the UK and close to his mum, who is registered blind and suffers from dementia.

The centenarian is a popular resident at the care home and before moving there has lived all over the local area, including on Barrowby Road and Rossetti Court in Grantham, as well as in Great Gonerby and Westborough.

However Gladys was originally from Chester, where she met her first husband Laurence and father to her two children.

Most of her career was spent as an insurance agent for the Prudential, before later working in the retail sector.

“She was the eldest of 16 - they didn’t have a TV in those days - and she has outlived most of them,” said Francis. “Mum is the first to reach 100 in our family, so we wanted to mark the occasion.”