There were celebrations aplenty for Peggy Carson when she became South Tyneside’s latest centenarian.
The 100-year-old marked her special day with a party held at Cleadon Park Church of England Academy, on Saturday, surrounded by family and friends.
The school setting was apt for the former teacher who dedicated her life to education.
Peggy, who was born in Sussex and moved to South Shields as a young girl. trained as a teacher at St Hilda’s College in Durham.
Her first job was at Laygate Primary School, South Shields, during the Second World War where, after only three-weeks in her new role, she and the children were evacuated to Borrowdale in Cumbria.
She remembers it as “one of the worst winters” as she and the youngsters spent three weeks away from their home town.
I have really enjoyed myself at the party and I would like to say thank you to everyone who has helped organise it.Peggy Carson
In the early 1950s, Peggy left the UK to work in New Zealand on a teacher’s exchange programme.
On her return home, she took up post as a teacher at Monkton Juniors School where she worked her way up to deputy headteacher before taking on the role as head.
Peggy also founded the North East and Cumbria Teachers Association supporting exchange teachers and educationalists.
She retired in 1979.
Following her retirement, Peggy married widow Bill Carson, who died in 2002, - a former police chief inspector based at South Shields - after meeting at church.
Peggy, who became stepmum to his four daughters, said: “He was such a handsome man, very distinguished,
“But he had to persuade me to marry him as I was such an independent woman. But I did.
“We were married for 26-years before he died. It seems like such a short time, but we had some wonderful memories.”
Peggy, a step-grandmother of seven and step-great-grandmother to 15, added: “I have really enjoyed myself at the party and I would like to say thank you to everyone who has helped organise it.”
Peggy living independently at her home in Sunderland Road, South Shields before moving into Pinfold Court - a retirement home - in Cleadon.
She is now a resident at Garden Hill Care Home.
Step son-in law Ian Turnbull who married her stepdaughter Jean, said: “Peggy is such a determined and inspirational woman. She lived in her own home and was very independent until recently.
“It has been a great turnout for her.”