Two friends celebrate their 100th birthdays just days apart

Grace Martin and Mary Brackenbury (in blue) celebrate their 100th birthdays at The Thatch at Thame, and below, their friends and family
Grace Martin and Mary Brackenbury (in blue) celebrate their 100th birthdays at The Thatch at Thame, and below, their friends and family
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Two friends who have known eachother for three decades are celebrating their milestone 100th birthdays just three days apart.

Grace Martin and Mary Brackenbury enjoyed a birthday meal together with family and friends at The Thatch in Thame.

Grace Martin and Mary Brackenbury celebrate their 100th birthdays at The Thatch at Thame PNL-141230-160303009

Grace Martin and Mary Brackenbury celebrate their 100th birthdays at The Thatch at Thame PNL-141230-160303009

Grace, who turned 100 on December 30, first met Mary when volunteering at the Thame Lunch Club around 30 years ago and the pair have kept in touch ever since.

Grace was born in Vancouver, Canada, in 1914 before her family moved to Coulsdon in Surrey when she was 11 years old.

She married husband Leslie, had her daughter Jen – now 66 – and the family lived together in Guilford, Surrey.

Grace, who is grandmother to Alex and Helen, both in their 30s, and great-grandmother to two-year-old Zoe– was a nurse throughout her working life until she retired in her late 60s.

Sadly, Leslie passed away in 1975 and ten years later Grace moved to Hazelrigg Drive in Thame to be closer to her daughter Jen.

Now the great-grandmother lives at Sharman Beer Court and still walks into town to get her hair done every week.

Daughter Jen, who lives in Long Crendon, said: “Mum says one highlight of her life was moving to Thame and joining many clubs and organisations, including being a founder member of U3A. She was still playing the piano until earlier this year!

“She is pleased to have reached 100 and to still be looking after herself in her flat in Sharman Beer Court.

“She attributes her long life to a positive attitude and self sufficiency and her enthusiasm to interact with others!”

Grace’s friend Mary, who lives in nearby Towersey with her daughter Jo, celebrated her landmark birthday yesterday.

Originally from Bruisyard in Suffolk, Mary met her beloved husband Jack after he delivered groceries to the farm where she lived.

The couple married in 1936 and moved to Thame around 50 years ago after Jack, who was a saddler by trade, could not get any work in Suffolk.

The pair had two daughters, Jo and Nina, and one son, Frank, and the family initially lived above florist Bizzie Lizzies in Thame’s Upper High Street and hard-worker Jack built up his business from scratch.

He and wife Mary, who was always a homemaker, were a well-known couple in Thame and were heavily involved in the town’s Rotary club, with Jack even being president from 1978 to 1979.

Jo, who lives with her mother at their bungalow in Towersey, said: “I don’t think mum can believe she’s reached 100.

“She’s very lucky. All the women on her side of the family lived well into their 90s. Mum says that she’s lived to this age because of contentment.”

Mary is still very socially active, and remains the president of the town’s Blind Club. She still treats herself to getting her hair and nails done on a weekly basis.