A FORMER factory worker has celebrated her 100th birthday with a party alongside friends and family at her care home in Chester-le-Street. Mabel Fenwick was born on 30th March 2018 and has lived in the north east all her life – moving to Pelton Grange Care Home in December 2016.
The home hosted a party on 29th March, with Durham County Council Cllr John Lethbridge delivering flowers to the centenarian.
Les Burnett, home manager at Pelton Grange Care Home, on Front Street, said: “Mabel is quite a character and always makes an impression on everyone she meets.
“She is loved by all at the care home and the staff, fellow residents, friends and family are thoroughly excited to celebrate her amazing milestone birthday.”
Mabel is originally from Millfield, Sunderland, and grew up in the city with her parents Robert and Florence Pape and younger sister Florrie.
Her mother died from nephritis, more commonly known as dropsy, when Mabel was just 11 years old, placing responsibility on her to look after the family home.
She left school at 14 to work at the National Galvanisers factory near the Queen Alexandria Bridge in Sunderland, where she was involved in turning zinc galvanised steel into everything from watering cans to dustbins.
She later worked at Horner’s Toffee factory and then Rodney’s Dresses, both based in Chester-le-Street, before retiring from factory work in the 1960s and becoming a Home Help to several old people in the area.
Mabel married Joe Fenwick, a coal miner at Lumley 6th pit, near Chester-le-Street, in December 1941.
They first lived together in a flat on Ernest Terrace before moving to Clifford Terrace, off Durham Road, Chester-le-Street.
The couple had their daughter Jean in September 1942. They later adopted Mabel’s sister Florrie’s son Alan in 1948, after Florrie died in childbirth at just 27 years old after complications due to multiple sclerosis.
Joe continued to work as a coal miner for 42 years, ending up at Wearmouth Pit, in Sunderland, before passing away in 1996, aged 82.