On her 100th birthday, a life-long Wycombe resident told what happened when a German pilot soldier landed in her village and how she made nearly 2000 coats for a Buckinghamshire hospital. 

Eva “Nan” Scattergood joins the esteemed centenarian club today.

While Mrs Scattergood, now a local legend, was born in Wycombe’s Naphill, she has lived in Downley most of her life raising two children, welcoming three grandchildren and now three great-grandchildren, while finding the time to help at Amersham hospital.

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Her secret to a long life is “keeping active, doing a lot of running – what I used to do once I was able to. I won all the prizes in running.

“And just keep going.

“It must be my positive attitude.”

She was born on August 16 1922 as the second eldest child after her older brother and was later joined by two younger sisters.

When she was 18-years-old, she met her future husband Walter during the Second World War, when he was in the RAF and posted at the Bomber Command in Naphill.

After courting for two years, including many dances at the local village hall, the pair married in 1942. The couple made a short stint out to Yorkshire, but the pull back home to Buckinghamshire was too strong, and they soon returned. 

Bucks Free Press: Eva and Walter on their wedding day in 1942 (left), and pictured on their 50th wedding anniversaryEva and Walter on their wedding day in 1942 (left), and pictured on their 50th wedding anniversary

She said: “I had been sending money to Scannappeal at Amersham Hospital, and after my husband died, I thought I could do some knitting for them because I made matinee coats, and they sold them in Amersham Hospital.

“So I started doing that in 1996.”

She only stopped making the coats a few years ago “when my eyesight got bad, that was when I had to give up doing them.”

During her 23 years of coat making, Mrs Scattergood made a whopping 1652 coats.

Now her daughter makes them for her, so that much needed coats continue to get delivered to Amersham Hospital.

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Her main career saw her specialise in the difficult craft of sequin making, which she carried on into her 70s.

“I used to do sequin work, I did it for a long time.

“It was second nature,” she explained.

A curious, once-in-lifetime turn of events landed her making dresses out of a German pilot’s parachute.

She explained: “I’ve got a photograph of my grandchildren, and they have dresses I made with smocking [embroidery] on.

“The dresses were made of silk, because we lived near a wood, and one day somebody was heard to be crying for help in the wood.

“My next door neighbour went around into the wood, and in a clearing there were trees all around and there was a man caught up in the trees on his parachute, and his legs were dangling in fresh air and he was way up in the tree tops.

“They left the parachute up in the trees, and got the man out of his harness and took him to the police station.

“The parachute was left, and that was pure silk. Somebody from up the road collected it, and they shared it out between the people living on that road, and I had some. I made those little dresses to my children.

“I was always making clothes, I made clothes since I was ten!

“Knitting was my hobby, and it was lovely to be able to make something.

“Lucky me!”