Posted: Wed 6th Jul 2016

Linda’s 100th Birthday Is Somme Occasion

This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jul 6th, 2016

While the nation marks 100 years since the Battle of the Somme, a great grand-mother from Nottage is celebrating her own centenary. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Born on 5 July 1916, just days after the First World War’s largest battle began on the Western Front, Linda Saunders is one of Bridgend County Borough’s oldest residents. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

To help celebrate her milestone 100th birthday, Linda was paid a special visit at the Bridgend Resource Centre today by both the Mayor of Bridgend County Borough and the Mayor of Bridgend. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Delighted to present Linda with a bouquet of flowers, the Mayor of Bridgend County Borough, Councillor Reg Jenkins, said: “It is a privilege to meet Linda and hear about her life. It is remarkable to think of the chaotic world that Linda was born into when compared to the peaceful times that we take for granted now.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

While the war waged in the trenches, Linda was born in Nottage to Ethel Lavinia and Thomas Edward Howell – a milkman who leased fields for his herd of cows. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Twin sisters followed in 1917 as well as a brother in 1919 – there must have been something in the milk – and then a second brother in 1927. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Despite being a good student, a proficient pianist and passing her 11 plus, Linda left school aged 14 in 1930. She then served a three-year apprenticeship as a hairdresser, and after gaining sufficient experience she opened her own hairdressing business in Porthcawl. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

On 3 June 1940, Linda married David Saunders, and during their wedding celebrations a train load of troops just evacuated from Dunkirk arrived at Porthcawl railway station a short distance from the wedding reception. All of the remaining wedding food was swiftly taken to the tired and dishevelled troops, who also received many other useful gifts from the people of Porthcawl. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

After the war, Linda was busy looking after their two children, Jeffrey and Patricia, while David ran a greengrocers shop. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

As her children grew up, Linda became very active with the Save The Children charity and also enjoyed playing bridge. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Family life has always been very important, and she loves nothing better than to be with her three grandchildren and three great grandchildren. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Previous birthdays have always been celebrated to the full. For example, on Linda’s 80th she piloted a light aircraft with her son, grandson and great grandson on board! ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Sadly, Linda’s beloved David died in 2001 and her 90th birthday was celebrated without him. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

For the last three years, Linda has attended Bridgend County Borough Council’s Older People’s Day Service, based in the Bridgend Resource Centre. Service users benefit from regular trips out, use of a hydrotherapy pool, a sensory room and a sensory garden. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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