Ripon woman’s life advice after celebrating 101st birthday

NARG 1509013AM2 Freda Dewey's 101st.birthday. Freda Dewey with Julieann Martin -Long and Sarah De-Martino of Lister House. (1509013AM2)
NARG 1509013AM2 Freda Dewey's 101st.birthday. Freda Dewey with Julieann Martin -Long and Sarah De-Martino of Lister House. (1509013AM2)

‘Be kind to others and have no regrets’ was the advice of a Ripon woman who celebrated her 101st birthday on Tuesday.

Freda Dewey was born in Portsmouth in 1914 but moved to Ripon following the end of the Second World War.

During the war, her husband Lesley worked as a pilot, flying Lancaster bombers until he was killed in action in 1943.

However, Freda was also no stranger to flying planes and piloted a Tiger Moth plane on a number of occasions.

During her incredible life, Freda was also involved during the war by transporting service men throughout the UK.

Freda celebrated her milestone birthday on Monday alongside her family and again on Tuesday with the residents and staff at Lister House.

She said: “I’m still an active member of the Knit ‘n’ Knatter club here at Lister House where we’ve made bunting for the Tour de France and blankets for the Paper Baby project in Africa.

“During the war there was a shortage of drivers for dropping servicemen off and they asked me if I could help. So I drove them backwards and forwards.

“In fact, the only thing I miss now in life is the fact that I can no longer drive. I even had flying lessons and flew a Tiger Moth plane.

“My secret to a long and healthy life is to keep busy, always help others, be happy and kind to others but to have no regrets.”

Following the war, Freda and her two children, Michael and Josephine, chose to settle in Yorkshire but the Lister House resident has travelled all over the world with The Isle of White a personal favourite.

Julieann Matin-Long, Head of Activities at Lister House, described Freda as a ‘proper and lovely lady’ with numerous friends.

She said: “Freda is as large as life, I will always remember her for her stories about flying the Tiger Moth planes.

“She is such a lovely lady, she knits and she makes the blankets for Africa which is a fantastic cause.

“When we take our babies home from the hospital they are wrapped up properly but in some third world countries they have to be wrapped up in newspaper.

“Freda makes the blankets and sends them to Africa. She’s such a fantastic person and is always so chatty with the other residents.

“At Knit ‘n’ Knatter, Freda will come down and tell us all her stories. She is a truly valued and loved person here.”