Aylesbury woman reaches 100 after surviving Covid and the Great Depression

Muriel lived in Southcourt for many years entertaining fellow residents with her dancing and singing

By James Lowson
Monday, 20th December 2021, 5:11 pm
Updated Monday, 20th December 2021, 5:20 pm

A woman who was born and lived most of her life in Aylesbury has recently celebrated her 100th birthday.

Muriel Patterson, who grew up on St Johns Road and lived in Southcourt for many years, celebrated her 100th birthday on December 11.

Muriel is still going strong, now living in a care home in Wales, she's even fought off a positive Covid diagnosis to reach 100 years young.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Muriel Patterson

Muriel has lit up the lives of those who met her, she loves to dance and had a choir-quality singing voice.

Her daughter Lynn Bowen contacted the Bucks Herald, on her mother's request.

When Muriel was recovering in hospital following a fall, she awoke to ask if she could appear in the local newspaper, as a birthday wish.

Lynn said: "She loved singing and dancing, she absolutely lived for it. The staff at the care home will testify to you now, she sings and tries to dance all the time.

Muriel in her earlier days

"She's been a wonderful mother, she's been sunny and happy all her life. I'm sure that's what's seen her through to her great years.

"She's smoked all her life mind. Mum's saying was, when you asked her if 'there's anything I can get you?' Jokingly, she would say, 'yeah, I'll have a fag and a man'. (Laughs).

"Even in her 90s she was saying that."

Currently, Muriel remains on the mend after suffering a broken hip in the fall which required surgery.

Another photo of Muriel through the years

She was one of 10 children growing up, she attended Queens Park School and sung in its choir.

She lived through the depression and the Second World War, Muriel was moved into a workhouse during this time period.

Next, she worked at a lemonade factory, this period is when Lynn has her first vivid memories of her mum living in Aylesbury.

She said: "The Vale Park was immediately across the road from us and me and my friends used to play in the park.

"We'd go over to mum and she actually made the lemonade. If anything went wrong with the machinery, I'd see my mum go down with hammers and spanners, to help get things working."

Muriel also spent time working at CPS Records, helping make cassettes back when that was the up-to-date way to share music.

Her and her husband raised a family on Russell Avenue in Aylesbury, Lynn believes many members of the community will still have fond memories of her mum.

Quickly. she gained a reputation as a star worker at CPS, Muriel had a unique cassette-making technique that wowed American executives when they visited the Bucks site.

The Americans wanted to replicate Muriel's technique at their factory as she was quicker than everybody else.

Muriel called Aylesbury her home for nearly eight decades. At 78, Lynn convinced her mother to move closer to Lynn's home in Wales.

Up until a year ago Muriel, lived with Lynn's family in Wales, she now receives full-time care at Cartref Annwyl Fan Care Home.

Covid restrictions mean, Lynn hasn't seen as much of Muriel as she would have before the pandemic started.

And visits to the care home sometimes must be brief out of necessity, other loving members of Muriel's family haven't been able to visit at all.

As well as Lynn, Muriel is loved by her granddaughters: Shelley and Kim, and great granddaughters: Mia, Emma, Lily and Violet, plus her son-in-law, Clive.

Lynn added: "When I go into the care home, I usually speak to the chief administrator or the manager, and they just say, mum's been signing all day.

"She's got her cassette and radio there, and her CDs and she just loves Susan Boyle. She sings along to Susan now, it used to be Bing Crosby and Sinatra."