Land Army girl marks 100 years

Kay Fawell with guests at her 100th birthday party.  (130726M3)
Kay Fawell with guests at her 100th birthday party. (130726M3)

Kay Fawell has lived a life less ordinary.

From walking on the wings of a plane and teaching girls how to ride tractors, to becoming the vice president of a dance club, the Ripon woman who celebrated her 100th birthday this week has lived a century full of extraordinary experiences.

Ms Fawell was born in Sandhutton, near Thirsk, on July 28, 1913 before moving to Ripon, and throughout her 100 years has worked as a teacher, a chiropodist and in the Women’s Land Army, where she taught girls how to drive tractors during the Second World War.

In addition to her diverse jobs, Ms Fawell has spent a century committed to sport.

Ms Fawell – who celebrated her birthday with three special occasions, including a lunch at home in Ripon, a celebration at Ripon Spa Hotel with her grandnephews and a party at Ripon Golf Club – has played both cricket and hockey for Yorkshire and the North of England and joined Ripon City Golf Club in 1961.

Ms Fawell, who has never been married, went on to become the ladies captain three times before being made an honorary life member and finally the honorary life president. Not only is she committed to golf, but Ms Fawell – who credits “hard work” as the secret to a long life – is still vice president of the Old Time Dance Club in Ripon.

But it is an experience from 86 years ago that stays with the former teacher.

“A special memory I have is going wing walking in 1927,” she told the Gazette.

And after living through a century of two world wars, 19 prime ministers, the invention of the internet and the emancipation of women, Ms Fawell said one of the biggest modern day issues is the way elderly people are treated.

“You cannot trust anyone and fear for the elderly is a big issue,” she said.

“Of course there are a lot of good things as well!” she added.