Burnley woman celebrates hundredth birthday

Gladys Fielding celebrates her 100th birthday
Gladys Fielding celebrates her 100th birthday

A Burnley woman who celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends on Saturday owes her long life to daily Guinness shandies.

Gladys Fielding (100) of Briercliffe Road enjoyed a tea party with cake on her big day, and then enjoyed champagne and strawberries at the Coniston Hotel on Sunday.

Up until about two years ago she had a Guinness and lemonade every morning

Michelle Clews, granddaughter-in-law

And her granddaughter-in-law Michelle Clews (53) believes her vitality is down to a daily dose of the black stuff.

“Up until about two years ago she had a Guinness and lemonade every morning,” she explained.

“But we had to wean her off because she has got diabetes now. She has got to be careful.

“She wasn’t happy at first but she doesn’t miss it now.”

Gladys was born in Todmorden on July 11th 1915, and apart from a short spell in Ashford, Kent, has lived locally all her life.

She went to work in her her father’s bakery in Bacup and this sparked a life-long enjoyment of baking and confection.

“She was always a good baker. Right up until the age of about 90-91 she was baking,” said Michelle.

“She made lovely mince pies. I’ve never tasted a better mince pie!”

Working at the bakery also led to her meeting the love of her life, Sam Fielding, a clogger from Todmorden.

Michelle couldn’t be sure whether the meeting was purely coincidental or sweetly manufactured, but the couple were eventually married in 1937.

During their fifty-plus years of marriage, the couple had a daughter Linda, who sadly died before her mother.

“Gladys was working at the bakery - it looked down on the local shops - and she used to see Sam around,” she said.

“One day she she was outside her house and was throwing out some water. It went on his feet and that is how they got talking.”

Despite Gladys’ age, Michelle insists she is still very aware and does well when playing along to TV show The Chase with her family.

Michelle said Gladys was happy to have friends and family around to celebrate her centenary, and was thrilled to receive a birthday card from the Queen.

“She has a few friends still around Burnley - she’s outlived most of them though,” she said.

“We also sent invites out to her neighbours and carers so there were lots of people.”