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Cricket fan’s own century marked by parish council

Beryl Croker Centenary Bench

Beryl Croker enjoying the view from her centenary seat
Benchmark.. .Beryl Croker tries out the seat that celebrates her 100th birthday, watched by family, friends and Compton and Shawford parish councillors TC38/98/5

A Shawford cricket fan has been presented with a bench to mark her own century.

Beryl Croker, of Southdown Grange, who hit her hundred last Friday, was the first to sample the seat, which has been given by the parish council.

She celebrated the landmark birthday with a party, surrounded by her son, four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, not to mention six nephews and nieces and their families.

Grandson, Giles, flew halfway round the world from Melbourne, Australia, especially for the event. Mrs Croker’s son and former Winchester city councillor, David Croker, said: “She’s held in very great esteem by the family. They wouldn’t have missed the party for anything.” And he was thrilled with the bench, with its shiny brass plaque: “It’s adding to the facilities of the down, which is so important. People will come for years to enjoy it.”

Mrs Croker had a career in local government and newspapers before working as a machine operator and supervisor at the now National Westminster Bank until her retirement in 1958. She married her husband, Bob, in 1931, but he died in 1944. A villager of over three decades, Mrs Croker was involved in the WI and Over 60s clubs for many years. She also enjoyed needle work, gardening and joining in her young relatives’ games, especially cricket, well into her nineties.

Sitting wrapped up warm in the winter sunshine, Mrs. Croker told the Chronicle:

I am very honoured that someone like me should have a bench like this.
I’ve had a hard life. I’ve been a widow for many years.
But my son has been wonderful to me.

So what was her recipe for a happy life?

“Make the most of everything you have got,” Mrs Croker declared.
And, waving her walking stick in royal manner, she thanked the assembled crowd and departed.

© Copyright 1998 Hampshire Chronicle, reproduced by permission of the Editor