"I just got on with things": 'Devoted' Hebburn churchgoer and charity worker celebrates her 100th birthday
A lifelong Hebburn resident who devoted her many years to good causes has celebrated her 100th birthday.
Elsie Etherington, marked her birthday on Monday, January 27, surrounded by dozens of old friends and “church family” at her Durham Court home, where she still lives independently.
Parishioners of St Oswald’s Church in Hebburn toasted Elsie’s incredible dedication to the church and voluntary causes over the course of her life.
Born in Hebburn on January 27, 1920, Elsie received her first bible at the age of five for her good attendance.
She was confirmed by the Bishop of Durham 10 years later, and chose to devote her life to St Oswald’s Parish Church.
Elsie was employed by the former local engineering firm Reyrolle for more than 44 years, after starting work at the age of 14, in 1934, but her first love was always the church.
She would go onto become a huge part of the St Oswald’s community, as a Sunday School teacher, church secretary and a member of the parochial church council (PCC) for over 63 years.
She still attends the church every Sunday in her wheelchair.
Elsie’s other commitment was her charity work, volunteering at St Oswald’s Hospice in Gosforth, Newcastle for many years as well as in the Children’s Society on Dean Road, South Shields.
Friends have described her as a “hugely talented” at tapestry work, knitting and sewing and say she enjoyed many foreign holidays with her brother in her younger years.
When asked what the secret is to her long life, Elsie said she “just got on with things.”
“Elsie has devoted all her life to St Oswald’s church and her voluntary work. We are her church family,” said Jennifer Taylor, church warden at St Oswald’s.
Friends planned the celebration at Elsie’s home, where she received dozens of gifts and cards, as well as her birthday message from the Queen.
Jennifer added: “We had a lovely celebration and there were a lot of presentations and bouquets of flowers, I think she was quite overwhelmed by it all.
“She enjoyed her day talking to everyone about the old times and fond memories of Hebburn.”