A mum in a million
Centenarian Lily Richens had a very special Christmas Eve when she celebrated reaching the age of 100 with family members and received a card from the Queen.
Mrs Richens, who is a resident at Avon Court care home, Chippenham, has lived in the area since her 20s.
She was born in 1912 and was part of a small mining community at Ferry Hill, County Durham, where she went to school. But times were tough and when she was old enough to leave school Mrs Richens, who had six sisters, came to work in Wiltshire as a maid.
She came to Wiltshire with her sister, Mildred, to work and live at Sir Percy Redman’s house in Calne.
The house, which is next to the Wheatsheaf pub on Curzon Street, was also opposite the cottage where her future husband Eric Richens lived and this was how they got to know each other.
They married in Ferry Hill in January 1936 and afterwards they moved to The Pippin, Calne.
During the Second World War, Mr Richens was called up to serve with the Royal Marines. Later he worked as a bus driver for Haddrells and Mrs Richens worked in the kitchen at the Harris bacon factory. He died in 1991, aged 84.
The couple had two children, Raymond and Jean, who both have fond memories of going to Weymouth on holiday in a caravan.
Mrs Richens also has three grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and three great great grandchildren.
Raymond Richens, 75, said his mother never smoked and she only had the occasional sherry at Christmas.
He said she always kept her mind active and was very good at needlework, knitting and tapestry.
He said: “If you couldn’t get on with my mother you couldn’t get on with anybody.
“When she was in her 80s she would often go shopping for people. Mum was always very good to me, she would be the first to lend me a couple of bob if I was short.”