Family pay tribute to life-long Salvation Army supporter who died aged 104

Edna Dorothy Mann, who had died aged 104, in her Salvation Army uniform picture with her youngest daughter, Christine

(Left to right) Edna Dorothy Mann, who had died aged 104, in her Salvation Army uniform picture with her youngest daughter, Christine - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

The family of a community stalwart who credited her long life to "clean living" has paid tribute to her after she died at the age of 104. 

A supporter and advocate of The Salvation Army, Edna Mann has been praised for her dedication to helping the homeless and those in need. 

Born Edna Dorothy Swain, she arrived in the world in Norwich in a house based in a small side street off Barrack Street on June 30, 1917. She was the third born of four siblings – Frank, Blanche, and Kathy – to parents, Frank and Ethel. 

Leaving school aged 14, she began working on the sorting line at chocolate manufacturer Caley’s at its factory in Chapel Field East, known as Fleur-de Lys works. Her father was part of its management team at the time and worked there into his 70s.  

Edna Mann celebrating turning 80 with a delicious cake

Edna Mann celebrating turning 80 with a delicious cake - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Caley’s chocolates were shipped all over the world, including its Caley's Marching Chocolate sent to British troops during the First World War. By 1932, the factory would be sold to John Mackintosh & Sons Limited under the Mackintosh name, and would go on to become Rowntree Mackintosh.  

By this time though, Mrs Mann had left Caley’s to become a home-maker and wife to her first husband Alec Winter, whom she married during the 1930s. Together the couple had four children over a thirteen-year span – Jean, Malcolm, Pauline, and Christine. Mr Winter died when their eldest, Jean, was just 21. 

During the early 1960s, Mrs Mann met her second husband, Albert Mann, through Norwich's Salvation Army. He played the euphonium in the band. They married in 1962. 

RAY BEGLEY AND HARRY WATSON IN THE SALVATION ARMY INTERIOR IN ST GILES.
FOR 120TH ANNIVERSARY FEATU

Harry Watson (right) with Ray Begley at The Salvation Army in St Giles for its 120th anniversary - Credit: ARCHANT

Most Read

Shortly after, they moved to Reading after being offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by the late Harry Watson, a former Lord Mayor of Norwich and a key figure in The Salvation Army. Mr Watson asked the couple if they would take on a brand-new Salvation Army hall in Reading central with Mr Mann as a caretaker and Mrs Mann cooking. They jumped at the chance and remained there for 14 years. Mrs Mann returned to Norwich a year after Mr Mann died during the 1970s. 

Her daughter, Jean Locke, 81, explained that she had spent her entire life involved with the church and charity. 

“Mum was brought up in the Sally Army from a baby and ever since,” she said. “She was involved with the home league, the singers, and she would make teas and coffees too. 

“She would help out at the hall when she returned to Norwich. She would assist with the day centre, help the homeless, sell The Salvation Army papers, and get up at 7.30am on a Sunday to help out at the hall on St Giles Street. 

“She loved helping people. That was what she did her whole life.” 

Norwich city history quiz 7. The Salvation Army Norwich Citadel. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Salvation Army Norwich Citadel - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Mrs Mann continued to work at The Salvation Army Norwich Citadel until the age of 80. She helped with minor tasks but was unable to do as much as before. Instead, she would fill her days with another passion of hers; knitting. She enjoyed creating jumpers, cardigans, and bits and pieces for children. 

Mrs Mann moved to The Salvation Army-owned Furze Hill House, North Walsham, three years ago at the age of 101. Previously, she had been living as the oldest residents for 30 years at sheltered retirement housing off Earlham Road, in the city. 

Mrs Locke, of Leopald Road, Norwich, said: “She was a very smarty little lady. She would tell you if she did not agree with something. Very straight-forwarded and very old fashioned in her ways. 

“She always said her age was because of her ‘clean life’. She put it down to ‘no drink, no smoking, and my good life’. She was very contented.” 

Mrs Mann was incredibly fond of her son-in-law, Peter Locke, who helped to look after her from the age of 80 by doing things such as shopping, cleaning, paperwork, as well as taking her out to places such as the garden centre.” 

Mrs Locke added: “She called him ‘my Pete’.”  

Edna Mann, who lives at the Norwich Housing Society’s Westwood House off Earlham Road, and has turne

More cake! Edna Mann celebrates an important milestone - her 100th birthday - Credit: ANDY NEWMAN ASSOCIATES PR

Mrs Mann died on November 5. As well as her children, she leaves behind sons-in-law Peter, Albert, and John, and daughter-in-law Jill. She was also a loving grandma to four and great-grandma to eight. The funeral to place at The Salvation Army, St Giles Street, on November 19. 

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter