Barnoldswick motor sports fan Elsie celebrates her 101st birthday

Elsie Wright celebrates her 101st birthday with family and friends at the Punch Ball in Earby.'photo Ben Parsons
Elsie Wright celebrates her 101st birthday with family and friends at the Punch Ball in Earby.'photo Ben Parsons

A BARLICKER with a penchant for motor sports has celebrated a milestone 101st birthday.

Elsie Wright, born on January 6th, 1912, and brought up in Ellis Street, was joined by family and friends for a celebratory party at the Punch Bowl in Earby.

A pupil at Church School, Elsie met her future husband Roger at a young age. After marrying, they spent the Second World War in Cheltenham, where Roger worked as a chief electrician for the Gloster Aircraft Company.

It was in Cheltenham that the couple’s son, also called Roger, was born, before the family moved back to Barnoldswick for good in 1948. Elsie spent her working life as a weaver, an employee at Moss Shed, as well as working in the Ouzledale Foundry canteen.

Among her biggest passions have been dancing and singing.

She said: “I started out in the school choir and then went on to performing solo in concerts around the area. I used to like being on the stage.”

She also fully embraced her husband’s love for motors.

Son Roger said: “She told me how dad used to take her to the cinema but he’d be sat there polishing pistons while they watched the film. She loved riding on the back of his motorbike, anything that involved racing and speed.”

Even at the grand age of 101, the adrenaline junkie in Elsie is still alive as she shuns any television programmes to do with soaps or celebrity culture “rubbish” to watch her beloved Formula One races and other sporting events.

She also enjoys playing dominoes and getting involved with other residents and staff at Briercliffe Lodge, where she has lived since May. Since the death of her husband in 1983, Elsie had remained active, living alone in Clayton Street. It was only after a fall early in 2011 that left Elsie hospitalised for five weeks, that she had to move into the care home.

Son Roger said: “She still has a strong mind and isn’t really on any medication. Considering her age, she is in great health. Everyone is amazed with how she looks.

“She has outlived all her family but she is very well loved and popular. She was showered with presents and flowers at the party.”

Elsie puts her youthful appearance down to a dab of Nivea cream when needed and a sip of whiskey, with the motto “A little bit of what you fancy does you good”.