Devoted woman celebrates 100th birthday

Cecily Holden celebrates her 100th Birthday with The Mayor and Mayoress of The Ribble Valley, Coun. Ian Seyers and Mrs Jean Hayes in the village of Hurst Green.
Cecily Holden celebrates her 100th Birthday with The Mayor and Mayoress of The Ribble Valley, Coun. Ian Seyers and Mrs Jean Hayes in the village of Hurst Green.

A REMARKABLE woman who has devoted her life to looking after her village church celebrated her 100th birthday.

Mrs Cecily Holden, who has lived in Hurst Green all her life, not only received a congratulatory card from Her Majesty The Queen and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith,but she was visited at her home by Ribble Valley Mayor Coun. Ian Sayers and Mayoress Mrs Jean Hayes.

Surrounded by family, friends at special guests at The New Drop Inn, Ribchester, Mrs Holden celebrated her milestone birthday, which also included a mass of thanksgiving at St Peter’s Church in Stonyhurst.

Born and brought up in Hurst Green, on leaving the village school, Mrs Holden worked as a post-lady – walking for miles every day. This is how she met her future husband, Jack, who worked for the highways department at Lancashire County Council and their paths crossed one morning while Mrs Holden was out on her daily rounds.

Love blossomed between the pair and they married in 1937. Soon after, she started working as a caretaker at St Joseph’s Primary School, in Hurst Green. She was a popular member of staff and continued with her job until retirement. Sadly, Jack died in 1985, but Mrs Holden kept busy by continuing to help out in her local community. For almost 50 years she was the sacristan of a little chapel next to the village school. In fact, she only retired last year.

Paying tribute to her hard work and devotion, her niece, Mary Bailey said: “She is a remarkable lady who still lives at home and enjoys cooking, baking and attending Hurst Green Luncheon Club.

“The way she has looked after the chapel and coped with life has been inspirational.”