In celebration of a centenary

2019-01-23 06:00
PHOTOs: suppliedPeggie cutting her cake during her birthday celebrations.

PHOTOs: suppliedPeggie cutting her cake during her birthday celebrations.

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MARGARET Elizabeth Jennie Stokoe, better known as Peggie, celebrated a century of life, flanked by her loving friends and family, by having a grand birthday party at Clarendon House on Sunday, two days before her 100th birthday.

Peggie, who turned 100 years old yesterday, told the Maritzburg Fever that being 100 means that some days she feels 90 while on others she feels 110.

“I never imagined reaching this age as most of my family passed away very young, so maybe I am making up for the years they missed,” she said, laughing.

A busy-body at heart, Peggie prefers to walk without aid but, due to safety concerns, uses a walking aid as she manoeuvres through her daily routine of walking through the garden and socialising with the other residents at Clarendon House.

Initially born in 1919 in Newcastle, England, Peggie left school at the age of 13 to help her mother and, during the years of World War 2, she worked in the Vickers armaments factory located on the River Tyne. She received a special dispensation to stop working and look after her mother, who was dying of cancer, because of her work for the war effort.

Peggie married her childhood sweetheart, Arthur­ Stokoe, in secret in London before he had to leave to serve in the war and they remained separated for the duration of the war.

After the war, her husband convinced her to move to Africa after having spent his war years stationed in Northern Rhodesia.

“I was hesitant at first but eventually fell in love with the warmth of the place.

“We lived in Northern Rhodesia until we moved back to England for about 18 months and then returned to Africa because we could not handle the weather in England,” Peggie said.

Peggie and her family have lived in Howick ever since with Peggie living on her own after her husband passed away in 1973.

“I lived in Howick for 42 years until last year July when I moved to Clarendon House after an operation,” said Peggie.

Peggie worked right up until she turned 92 and was a regular volunteer at Hospice. She has always been an independent soul but has come to realise that her age is finally starting to catch up with her and therefore she cannot be as independent as she always was.

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