Edwardian Sunderland lady celebrates 106th birthday

Phyllis Wake at the Sycamore Care Home, Nookside, Grindon.
Phyllis Wake at the Sycamore Care Home, Nookside, Grindon.
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ONE of Wearside’s oldest residents is today celebrating her 106th birthday.

The British Empire was at its peak and Edward VII still had three years left as King when Phyllis Wake was born on June 12, 1907.

“She can still get around just fine by herself,” said granddaughter Angela Croucher.

“She has always been very active, taking care of herself and her diet.”

Former home help Phyllis, a resident of Sycamore Care Centre at Nookside, was born in King’s Lynn, Norfolk.

Initially, she had aspirations of a stage career, but her parents wouldn’t let her go on tour.

At around the same time, however, her father died and her mam, Lydia, went on to marry a butcher – the relationship producing sons Ted and Stan and daughter Gladys.

“I was tiny when dad passed away,” Phyllis recalls. “After my mother re-married, my stepfather brought us to the North East for a new life. I made my home here.”

The move to Chester-le-Street came during the depression years of the 1920s – with Phyllis’s new stepfather hoping to find work here.

Her parents failed to settle in the North East, however, and returned to Norfolk.

Phyllis was offered the money for her train fare, but stayed.

“She liked life here,” said Angela. “After helping to bring up her brothers and sister, she found herself finally enjoying herself and wanted to stay here.”

Phyllis married her sweetheart Jack Wake, from Fence Houses.

They had two daughters; Valerie in 1933 and Oriel almost 10 years later.  

Today she has five grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

Although today marks Phyllis’s birthday, the excitement is not yet over as she is due to take part in a beauty pageant for older people soon.

l Do you know anyone older than Phyllis? Call the Echo newsdesk on 501 7208.