Spofforth’s oldest resident dies aged 102

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Spofforth’s oldest resident died last week, aged 102.

Bessie Brooke, nee Perrin, moved to the village in 1967 and remained an active member of the community.

She enjoyed outings with the Senior Moments Travel Club and even celebrated her 100th birthday with a party at Red Hill Farm tea rooms.

Son Malcolm Brooke told the Wetherby News this week: “Amazingly she was widowed for 18 years and was able, with a live-in carer and the support of the village, to stay in her own home until the last two/three months.

“All the family were able to visit in the final week of her life.”

Bessie was born in Dewsbury in June 2016, shortly before the start of the Battle of the Somme in World War I.

She had an eventful childhood, losing the tip of her wedding ring finger in a mangle, was knocked down by a lorry and at one point had to be plucked from the River Calder. All this before she had turned 10 years.

Bessie married Harry Brooke in May 1940.

During World War II Bessie worked at Appleyards in Leeds, wiring lights on the wings of the Fairey Swordfish, while husband Harry was a top secret code breaker at the now famous Bletchley Park.

By 1950 she was living in Upper Batley and was the mother of two children Janet and Malcolm.

In the early 1960s she featured in the local press after joining a woodwork class, a rare event for a woman in those days.

Malcolm said the funeral will take place at All Saints’ Church, Spofforth, on October 23, at 11am.

She leaves her two children, Janet and Malcolm and four grandchildren.