“Happiness is the secret to a long life” says 103-year-old from High Kelling

103 year old Gladys Reid pictured at Lloyd Court in Holt. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

103 year old Gladys Reid pictured at Lloyd Court in Holt. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

A former district midwife who has delivered hundreds of babies celebrating her 103rd birthday this week.

103 year old Gladys Reid (centre) pictured with her family from left Harley the dog, Emma Ruscoe, St

103 year old Gladys Reid (centre) pictured with her family from left Harley the dog, Emma Ruscoe, Stephanie Ruscoe, Pat Woodhouse and Becky Ruscoe at Gladys Reid at Lloyd Court in Holt. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Gladys Reid, from Lloyd Court care home in the grounds of Kelling Hospital, near Holt, marked her milestone birthday yesterday.

Mrs Reid, who has three adopted daughters, celebrated the day with two of her daughters and two grandchildren.

She was born and grew up in a village outside Northampton and was an only child, her mother, Emily Freeman, died from tuberculosis soon after she was born.

Mrs Reid was brought up by her father, George Freeman and stepmother, and went to school at Bletchley, near Milton Keynes.


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The family moved to Northampton and, after leaving school at 14, she worked with her father for four years collecting and making shoes.

She started general nursing training at Leicester City General Hospital aged 18 before going on to train as a midwife at a hospital in the East End of London.

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During her long career as a district midwife she worked in London, Essex, Hertfordshire and Leicester.

Mrs Reid said: 'I once walked for miles to a lady but it turns out she wasn't in labour, I then walked all the way back only to be told that now she was so I had to go out again.'

She carried on with her demanding job during the Second World War, during which time her home was bombed.

She said: 'I have delivered lots of babies - in caravans and all sorts of places. I loved it. There have been changes. Midwifery is very different now.'

Mrs Reid recalls that her most memorable birth was delivering triplets on her own.

She said: 'I just had a stranger turn up and she was in labour, she didn't know it was triplets, but it wasn't that much of a shock for me.'

Mrs Reid married twice but both husbands have since died, and she moved to West Runton when she was in her 50s.

She worked at the former Longacre Maternity Home in the village.

Mrs Reid, who used to breed dachshund dogs and had up to 10 at once, now enjoys playing Scrabble and going to Holt Methodist Church.

She added: 'Happiness is the secret to a long life, doing hard work and being independent has kept me going.'

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