Former teacher Sylvia marks 102nd birthday with party

Sylvia Garner has turned 102. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Sylvia Garner has turned 102. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

A resident at a care home in Huntingdon celebrated her 102nd birthday with a family party.

Sylvia Garner was joined by friends and family at her son's house in Hanslope, Buckinghamshire, earlier this month for the celebration, where she received lots of gifts, including a stoned ring from her great grandson.

Sylvia was born on July 8, 1917, in a cottage in Huntingdon Road, Brampton. She had a sister called Joan and a brother called Ken.

Sylvia says her family had seven cats and she used to dress them up in baby clothes and take them out for walks in an old pram. When Sylvia was around six, she recalls playing hairdressers with one of the cats and cutting off his whiskers.

She first attended Brampton school and then went to Huntingdon.


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Sylvia's father worked on the fruit stalls on a Saturday at Huntingdon market. He was not paid but, Sylvia recalls, he was able to take home everything that was left over. He could only manage what he could carry riding the bike home, though.

After finishing at Huntingdon school, Sylvia passed an exam to become a teacher.

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She then went to Brampton school for four years to train to be a teacher.

Sylvia's training took five years because of ill health, but, when she finally completed her training, her first job was at Holywell, where she taught the infants for more than three years.

After a short stint in Grafham, Sylvia was asked to go to Ellington in September 1941 and was there for around three years. While there, Sylvia had her first child, Trevor.

In 1959 Sylvia went and taught at Brampton school until she retired in December, 1982.

Sylvia's husband John lived over the road from her and they went to the same school. They use to do a lot of their courting at the allotments where they kept pigs.

John worked in the post office. He had to go to the war but, Sylvia recalls, his postmaster told him if he went before his call up came, he could get a better job in the signals. Therefore, in February 1940, John joined the Royal Corps of Signals.

Sylvia and John married on March 23, 1940, in the church at Brampton. They had a small reception at the school. It was a sit down meal and it cost 4 shillings per head. Sylvia bought her dress from Ely and it cost £3.

During the war, Brampton took in some evacuees and Sylvia's family took in a boy called Bunter, who stayed for a couple of years

Sylvia remembers having the first TV on the street ready for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Many people came to watch the occasion, she recalls, and she had cooked sausage rolls and jam tarts to celebrate.

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