Former March landlady Hilda Quince celebrates her 100th birthday

FORMER March landlady Hilda Quince celebrated her 100th birthday yesterday with a family meal.

Earlier in the day at her Papworth Road bungalow she had been delighted to receive, among the many bouquets and cards, official 100th birthday greetings from the Queen.

Mrs Quince had asked family and friends that donations, in lieu of birthday gifts, be made to the rebuilding fund for St Mary’s Church.

Born in Leicester, Hilda was an only child whose father was a button maker at a local factory and her mother worked in the hosiery department of another. She was a keen member of the Salvation Army.

She met her husband, Ernie, through a mutual friend and he would regularly cycle from March to Leicester to meet with her.

The couple married in 1937 and lived at Grandford until they took over the Wagon and Horses pub and a smallholding at Whitemoor Road. Their son, Trevor, was born at Grandford and daughter Jan (Ayres) at Whitemoor.

The family took over the Prince of Wales pub in Station Road in 1954, and Ernie worked as assistant caretaker at March Grammar School. He was appointed head caretaker when Neale-Wade School opened in the mid 1960s and the couple lived in a bungalow on-site until their retirement in 1978, when they moved to Papworth Road.

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During their working lives the couple were well-known through their work with the Licensed Victuallers’ Association and The Caretakers’ Association. Later in life they were members of the Middle Level Waterman’s Club, enjoying regular trips out on their boat.

Hilda has lived on her own since Ernie died in 1982. She said: “I am very lucky that both my son and daughter live in the town and can look after me when I need it.” She also has five grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

She still attends meetings of March Senior Citizens Club and St Mary’s Church Mothers’ Union. She also enjoys weekly shopping trips and visits to the cinema.

Looking back on her life, Hilda said: “It just doesn’t seem possible that 100 years have gone by - it seems like only yesterday that I was a girl in Leicester.

“I can honestly say that I have been very lucky to have had such a wonderful life and a wonderful family. God has been very good to me.”

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