The jewel in our crown – March woman Molly celebrates her 104th birthday

104 year old Molly Goodenough. Catherine, known as Molly celebrates her 104th bithday. Picture: Stev

104 year old Molly Goodenough. Catherine, known as Molly celebrates her 104th bithday. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Keeping busy and positive have been the secrets to a long life for Molly Goodenough who this week celebrated her 104th birthday.

The bubbly birthday girl, who has been knitting for 99 years, said she felt lucky to have enjoyed a lovely life with her husband Herbert, a former inspector at March police station.

Mrs Goodenough said: “I had the most wonderful husband who looked after me. We jogged along as two pals.

“Wherever one of us was the other was not far behind. We had one daughter Pat who is now 76, which seems impossible! She and her dad were very close. I feel lucky to have had such a happy life.

“I love my knitting and learnt when I was five. I’m involved with a charity that sends woollen items to children in South Africa and am in the middle of a baby jacket now. I like to keep my mind busy, like watching history programmes or crime, something to get me thinking,” she said.


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Born in Herefordshire, her family moved to Leicester when she was a toddler and at the age of seven they moved to Wisbech to take on family firm Palmer Brothers garage in Quayside.

At the age of 17 she began an apprenticeship at Fleming Reid woollen shop in Wisbech where she worked for 10 years, the last three as manager.

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After marrying at St Augustine’s Church, in Wisbech, in 1938, she gave up work and with her police officer husband moved to Ely where they spent the war years.

Mrs Goodenough said: “Pat was born in the week it was announced we were going to war. Thankfully Herbert avoided going because of police duties but there were sad stories at home.”

One night she recalls hearing an aircraft of six British men singing On A Wing and A Prayer as they were excited to be back on home ground. They were flying low over Ely to come into land at Mepal Airfield.

Mrs Goodenough said: “They were shot down by the Jerry and all perished. It was one of those moments that was just awful. Herbert had to go out to it. He said he never wanted to see anything like it ever again.”

After nine years in Ely the couple moved to live in a police house in Elwyn Road, March, where Mr Goodenough spent the rest of his police career until retiring in the 1960s.

Mrs Goodenough, who has lived at Clovelly House in Station Road, March, for the last seven years, said: “I’ve had a lovely birthday and even had a card from the Cambridgeshire Police Federation.

“I’ve certainly had a happy life.”

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