Kettering woman Lilian celebrates 100th birthday

Lilian marked her 100th birthday in style.
Lilian marked her 100th birthday in style.

A Kettering woman marked her 100th birthday in style with three parties.

Lilian Taverner-Jones reached the milestone on Friday (September 28) and had a party at Sunley Court Retirement Village in Piper’s Hill Road, where she lives.

Lilian at her birthday party with members of Kettering Ladies Bridge Club.

Lilian at her birthday party with members of Kettering Ladies Bridge Club.

Having already had a party at Kettering Ladies Bridge Club on Wednesday, she made it a week to remember with a gathering at The Vines Brasserie at Barton Hall on Sunday with family and friends.

She said: “I never wanted to get to 100 but I’ve enjoyed the celebrations a lot.

“When I came here [Sunley Court] I was 92 and I said to the girl ‘I’ll just be here for two years’ and now here I am eight years later.”

Lilian was born in Great Addington and won a scholarship to attend Wellingborough High School.

She had to walk to Ringstead and back every day to catch the train and walked across the meadows, having to wear wellington boots in the rain.

Her parents ran Great Addington Post Office and Lilian’s mother rang the postmaster to see if there were any jobs for her when she left school.

She got a job with the Telephone Exchange while she waited for a vacancy and when she was working there in Kettering she met her first husband, Alan Taverner.

She left her job when they got married in 1941 at Great Addington’s church.

Alan was in the forces until he was de-mobilised in 1946 and they lived in Greenhill Road, Kettering,

Lilian worked for the Board of Trade in Headlands from 1941 until 1946 before taking on office work at Kettering’s library.

She worked there until 1958 when she was approached to teach at Tresham College.

She taught secretarial classes until she retired in 1981 at the age of 63 and was made a senior lecturer in that time.

She said: “I enjoyed those years very much.

“The beauty of teaching that subject to people later on in their life was that they wanted to be there.”

Alan, a careers officer in Corby, died in 1973.

Thirteen years later in 1986 she married her second husband Eric Jones, a personnel manager at Aquascutum. Eric died in 2010.

She has a step-daughter, Lisbeth, whom Lilian described as “a dream”.

When she was at The Vines Lilian had a surprise Skype call with her great-nephew all the way from China.

Lilian loves her sport and played bowls and tennis, as well as joining a health and beauty class.

She is very well-travelled having been to New Zealand and Australia twice and Thailand to visit former students.

She has also been to America 11 times and once flew back from New York on Concorde.

She said: “It was an experience, it really was.”

Among her 90 birthday cards was a congratulations from The Queen.

Lilian often enjoys a Baileys in her morning coffee and expected to get a dozen bottles as birthday gifts - but to her surprise she didn’t get any!

Lilian has played bridge at Kettering Ladies Bridge Club for about 25 years and committee member Sheila Bailey said she loved her party.

She said: “She thoroughly enjoyed it. By the end of the afternoon she was invigorated and she loved it.”