Celebration time as Kathleen turns 103

Kathleen Smith celebrates her 103rd birthday with her great niece, 11 year old Ellie Newsome. (AB149a0715)
Kathleen Smith celebrates her 103rd birthday with her great niece, 11 year old Ellie Newsome. (AB149a0715)

It was the year the Titanic set sail, Captain Scott reached the South Pole and the Liberal MP for Morley was Herbert Asquith.

It was also the year Drighlington’s Kathleen Smith was born.

And last week Mrs Smith was surrounded by her family to celebrate her 103rd birthday.

Born Kathleen Bastowe on July 23 1912, she lived with her mum, dad and sister Olive in Dale Road, Cockersdale where they had a shop and tea rooms.

She fondly remembers going with her mother to the farm down the lane for a gallon of milk to make ice cream to sell in their shop.

The family moved when she was aged five and settled at Lumb Bottom and became a pupil at Drighlington School.

Leaving school at 14, she worked at Booth’s Mill in Cockersdale as a weaver and her spare time was devoted to her love of dancing.

And she went on to gain her many medals and certificates, carrying on her favourite hobby until she was 98, giving it up while she was still able to do the splits.

She also used her talents to help others by becoming a dance teacher, showing many local girls and boys in the village how to dance.

In 1948, she married Clifford Smith, who had four children, and was welcomed into the much larger Smith family.

The couple went on to have a son, Roy, who sadly died in a road accident when he was just 18.

The couple lived in a house at Thornton’s Nursery on Back Lane where she worked in the greenhouses.

She also worked as a cleaner for Dr Anderton at his Whitehall Road surgery.

Following his retirement, Mrs Smith continued to work for the new owners, Mr and Mrs Kemp of Yorkshire Egg Packers - retiring when she was 81 years old.

Nephew Mel Newsome said: “Kathleen has had quite a hard life, scrimping and scraping and looking after the family.

“When they had all grown up and Clifford had unfortunately passed away, she continued to work and save up to go on many holidays.

“Just before her 70th birthday she took her first flight and when she was 70 she went by herself to see an old school friend in California.

“From then on, there was no stopping her.

“She had got the travelling bug and lots of holidays abroad followed.”