Letchworth woman celebrates 100th birthday on Christmas Day

Winifred Swingler at the Liberal Catholic Church with her family

Winifred Swingler at the Liberal Catholic Church with her family - Credit: Archant

Christmas Day was a double celebration for one woman as she turned 100.

Betty Leete celebrating her 104th birthday with care home staff

Betty Leete celebrating her 104th birthday with care home staff - Credit: Archant

Winifred Swingler, of Meadow Way, Letchworth GC, reached her 100th year on Wednesday and marked the event by having all of her family members round for Christmas dinner, followed by a church service.

Born in Yorkshire as Winifred Sheilds in 1913, she moved during World War to London, where she later met her future husband Ralph Swingler.

The couple married on August 23, 1941, and moved to Letchworth GC in 1946 where Mr Swingler was a priest at the St Alban Liberal Catholic Church.

Mrs Swingler was an active member of the community and, in addition to running a playgroup held at a tennis club for 20 years, she raised nearly £20,000 over 25 years for Lister Hospital in Stevenage.

In recognition of this Mrs Swingler was presented a civic award in 2006 for her fundraising.

Her daughter, Valerie, said: “It was an absolutely brilliant day. We had 26 of us there and Winifred was over the moon with it all.”

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Mrs Swingler still lives independently and frequently attends the church where her late husband used to preach.

Elsewhere, celebrations were in full swing at a care home yesterday (Friday) as one resident turned 104.

Betty Leete was celebrating the milestone age with friends and family at the Westbourne Residential Care Home in Hitchin.

Betty, who was born in Sussex but moved to Royston in her late teens, worked in a garage where she met her husband Willam Arthur, also known as Les.

The pair had a daughter named Beryl.

Eventually they bought a grocery shop on the corner of Walsworth and Radcliff Road in Hitchin, which the couple ran until Les retired.

The couple celebrated both their gold and diamond wedding anniversaries, before Les died aged 88 in 1993.

Betty has lived at Westbourne since July 2010.

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