May is 'content' at 101in her Sidmouth home

SHE may have celebrated her centenary quietly, but friends at Abbeyfield, Sidmouth, made sure May Stephenson s 101st birthday on Sunday made the headlines.

SHE may have celebrated her centenary quietly, but friends at Abbeyfield, Sidmouth, made sure May Stephenson's 101st birthday on Sunday made the headlines.

She had a busy weekend at the Cotmaton Road home she has lived at for the past 20 years. On Saturday her grandson David, his wife Christina and their three sons, Alex, Michael and Ethan, visited from their home near Chippenham, Wiltshire, and on Sunday her son John, 74, "a very good son" and his wife Glenda joined in celebrations with residents and staff at Abbeyfield.

"It was a tiring weekend," said May, who was born at Collingham, Nottinghamshire, youngest of seven children to Arthur and Mary Kind.

She is not the only one to enjoy a long life. Her mother was 95 when she died and several of her brothers and sisters lived into their 90s.

"I had very good parents, and I had a very happy childhood," May said. "We were country people, it was better than living in a town. We used to call them 'townies', we didn't like them."

She remembers making her own fun, such as stilt-walking, and said: "We were more content than children are today. We didn't have a lot of books in those days, but we were quite happy and content.

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"I remember my eldest brother Jack, who was a tease, teaching me the alphabet, but from the back - Z Y X."

Her father was the local station master, and May remembers sitting in his office while he worked.

She married Lewis Stephenson, whose family were local agricultural merchants and engineers in Newark, and became a farmer's wife for 40 years.

"It was a mixed farm, I liked the sheep best. We had shire horses to plough the fields. I was very busy and used to do all the dairy work."

The couple moved to Sidmouth 38 years ago when they retired and May soon got involved with local groups, such as the flower club, WI and Methodist Church.

Sadly Lewis died shortly after their arrival and, aged 81, she moved to Abbeyfield. She said: "I am very content here and thankful too, and I don't miss Nottinghamshire at all."

She has three grandchildren and seven great grandchildren to keep her feeling young.

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