Ena Lang of Biddick Hall celebrates 100th birthday

A South Tyneside woman still living independently celebrated her 100th birthday on Saturday.
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Ena Richardson was born in North Shields on January 27, 1924, the daughter of Thomisina Brown and Henry Albert Richardson.

She had three brothers, two of whom have sadly passed away, one living (Bill Smith born 1921).

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She married Ron Lang, from Erith, which was part of Kent but is now in Greater London, in 1946. They were married 62 years until Ron passed away in 2008. She had two sons, William and Stephen.

Ena aged 21 in 1946.Ena aged 21 in 1946.
Ena aged 21 in 1946.

Ena still lives independently at Willow Bank Court in East Boldon and planned to celebrate her 100th with family, friends and neighbours.

Ena left school at 14 and her first job was at a sweet and tobacconist shop in Frederick Street in 1938. Ena worked there till she got a job at grocers inHarton Village in 1940. Her mother made her leave at 17.

She then worked at another of their shops before London and Newcastle tea store hired her.

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During the Second World War she got involved in the war effort. Started work in 1943 at an aircraft factory In Eccles, Lancashire, where she worked on Merlin Engines.

Ena met Ronnie Lang in 1945, just after her 21st birthday. Her father, William Smith, was Ronnie’s labourer.

Ronnie was lodging in Henry Nelson Street and he went to her home for tea. Ronnie asked permission to take Ena to the pictures and cousin Peggy went out with Ena to the Ferry Landing.

After 10 weeks Ronnie went to Rossythe and the Clyde installing lifts. When he returned at Whitsuntide, he and Ena started going out. Ronnie started writing letters and the romance blossomed.

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Ronnie proposed to Ena in August 1945, six months after they met.

Ronnie was working in Plymouth at the Devonport Naval dockyards. After they were married he went back.

When the war ended, Ena and Ronnie went to Plymouth, but Ena said 1947 was a terrible winter. All the shops were in Nissan huts, and the city was being rebuilt.

The following year was a great summer. King George VI opened a new road in a new part of Plymouth.

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After working in Plymouth for years they moved to Reading and Ronnie worked at Harwell. He then worked at Springfield near Blackpool, and his last job during their travels was near Sellafield on the world’s first first atomic power station.

They lived in Whitehaven for a year in a house that was a listed building. But Ena says Plymouth was her favourite place.

Ronnie worked at Fraser and Chalmers, but after five years working away they decided to stay in the north.

After Whitehaven, in 1950 they moved to South Shields, moving into a two-room flat at 49 George Potts Street. Their landlord was Mr Rumney.

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While they decorating the flat, their first son Bill was born at Fellside, Cleadon, at Nanna’s house, and they lived there until 1954. They then moved to Kingsley Avenue and Stephen was born 1957.

Ena is well known to her friends and neighbours. She still has a sharp mind and possesses an amazing memory.

Her son Stephen is married to Doreen and lives in the United States, and Ena says she is proud of her three grandchildren, James, Sean and Erika.

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