Thumbs up for 100-year-old birthday celebration

Molly Brettell

Molly Brettell

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

AN enterprising woman who studied architecture at university in the 30s celebrated her 100th birthday at the weekend.

Molly Brettell celebrated with a family meal on her birthday on Saturday and a party was also held for her at her home in Abbeyfield House in Princes Risborough.

Police also presented a bouquet of flowers to her, as her late husband, Patrick, was a police inspector in Devon and Cornwall Police.

Molly moved from near Banbury to Princes Risborough in 2007 to be nearer one of her daughters who lived near Aylesbury.

She first lived in Jasmine Crescent and moved to Abbeyfield last September, as her home needed to be repaired following flooding, but liked it so much she stayed.

Molly was born in Bromley, Kent and she grew up in Liverpool.

Her youngest daughter, Susan Bickley, said: "She went to Liverpool University and was there for five years as a student for architecture which, in those days, was quite unusual for a woman to even go to university, let alone to study architecture.

"She then met my father and didn't complete the course."

Molly met her husband, Patrick, at a ball in Devon where her cousin was master of the hounds of the Cornish hunt.

Patrick had been in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) as a tea planter but the farm he was with went bust and he came back to England and joined the police force.

They got married in 1936 and had four daughters; Sally, 77, who lives near Wantage; Gillian, 75, who has just moved from near Aylesbury to Wiltshire; Jacqueline, 72, who lives in New York and Susan, 69, who lives near Huntingdon.

Molly has ten grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

Susan added: "She was an enterprising lady. She studied German and Spanish at night school- just for the joy of it."

Following Patrick's retirement they moved to Wiltshire. Patrick passed away in 1998, aged 90.

Susan added: "She could turn her hand to anything. She was very creative. She could transform a garden and build dry stone walls.

"She is a very determined lady. Until recently she has be able to walk half a mile."

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