A KNUTSFORD centenarian marked her big day with a card from the Queen – and a signed picture from one of her TV heroes.
Florence Arrowsmith celebrated her 100th birthday with a party at her home in Mere Court on Monday.
Florence was asked by her daughter what she would like for her birthday, but said she did not want anything.
But after having a think, a few days later she said for her birthday she would like Bradley Walsh as a result of being a big fan of quiz show The Chase and crime drama Law and Order.
That was a big request, but Bradley made sure he was there in spirit by sending Florence a signed picture, which has taken pride of place alongside her card from Queen Elizabeth.
She was born in Manchester on January 21, 1913 and spent the early part of her life growing up in Ancoats.
She celebrated her milestone birthday with family and friends at a party at her home on Monday.
After spending her life living in various places in the city, including Blakeley and Droyslden she moved to Handforth, before settling in Knutsford in 1988, two years after the death of her husband Joseph.
She spent her early working career working as a machinist in Ancoats, but as it was during the war years it meant things didn’t exactly go to plan.
“During the war one of my places of work was bombed,” she said.
“We went to work as normal not knowing what had been hit, but our factory was flattened – it was absolutely gutted.
“But within three days they had opened up a new factory across the road and it was marvellous the way they did it.”
She tied the knot to Joseph – who was a fish wholesaler at Smithfield Market in Manchester – in 1940 at St Andrew’s Church in Droylsden, and the couple had four children, Joseph Roy, Kay, Judith and Yvonne.
She now has nine grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
One of her main loves was touring the British Isles on a motorbike and then a car with her husband.
“First we liked hiking, then we started cycling, then motorbiking, then touring with our cars,” she said.
“We’ve been all over, and toured the country including Cornwall, the Lakes, Scotland, Wales in the car and on the motorbike, a BSA 350.
“We bought a bike with a side car, but the husband didn’t know how to drive it. I got on the back and we came out of the shop and turned right.
“I’m not sure if there was a van or a car but we ran straight into it. I was shook up, but that didn’t stop me getting back on the bike.”
Florence used her machinist skills to make sure all her children had handmade clothes as they grew up.
Daughter Yvonne said: “She used to make all the outfits of the day for us – even in the 60s, including the miniskirts.
“She taught us all to sew, and as we each left home she gave us her sewing machine – and then bought a new one!”
Her son Joseph Roy lives in Australia, while daughter Kay lives in Handforth, Judith in Bath and Yvonne in Kent – which gives Florence an excuse to get out and about.
“I head to Kent in the summer for eight weeks and then Bath in the spring,” she added.
“It’s a bonus being able to get to different places, and if they all lived closer I wouldn’t have anywhere to go.”
Florence moved to Knutsford in 1988, and lives in Mere Court overlooking the Moor.
“When my husband was alive we used to have trips to Knutsford and I used to like coming here,” she said.
“I’ve been really happy here and I’ve made and had a lot of good friends from being in the community. I enjoyed going for walks with friends in Tatton Park and even had a couple of birthday picnics in there too.
“I’ve had a great life and can’t grumble.”
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