Centenarian’s treat recalls wartime role

A WOMAN who had a vital firefighting role in the Second World War, Lydia Hockaday, was given a special thank you last week – on her 100th birthday. Firefighters from Papworth took a basket of flowers and a card to Mrs Hockaday, who now lives in Huntingdon

A WOMAN who had a vital firefighting role in the Second World War, Lydia Hockaday, was given a special thank you last week - on her 100th birthday.

Firefighters from Papworth took a basket of flowers and a card to Mrs Hockaday, who now lives in Huntingdon.

Her husband, Ernie, was station officer and a founder member of the crew at Papworth Everard Fire Station in 1939. During the war, when pagers where just a distant dream, Mrs Hockaday, as the wife of the station officer, would take the emergency calls and then dash around the village summoning the firemen to action.

Still sprightly, she is also still a well-known face to the firefighters who often wave to her from their engine as they pass her home. Mr Hockaday died in 1977.


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Mark Houghton, the current station manager at Papworth, said: "Mrs Hockaday is a remarkable lady and it was only fitting that we organised something special for such a landmark birthday."

Mrs Hockaday said she was delighted when she saw the fire engine come round the corner of her road.

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She said: "I bet the neighbours wondered what was going on. This has been a wonderful surprise and I am very grateful to the firefighters for taking the time to come and wish me a happy birthday.

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