South Tyneside woman celebrates her 103rd birthday

A woman who served her country during the Second World War has celebrated her 103rd birthday.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 17 January, 2019, 10:55
Lilly Burns has celebrated her 103rd birthday.

Lilly Burns marked the milestone surrounded by relatives, staff and friends, at Garden Hill Care Home in South Shields, on Tuesday.

Mrs Burns worked in ammunitions during the Second World War and said serving her country in this way was one of the greatest achievements in her life.

Lilly Burns with her second cousin Lily Robson, 79.

Her work saw her spend five years from 1940 to 1945, in Birmingham, before returning home to her family in South Shields.

Originally from the Laygate area of the town, Mrs Burns was a barmaid before she took up a role in ammunitions and says she was disappointed to find that she had to return to this work once she came back home.

It was through her work as barmaid that she met her husband Albert Burns and the couple married on February 29, 1949, at St Peter’s Church.

She said: “I wanted to do something different when I came back home to South Shields, but I wasn’t allowed to, so I ended up back at the bar.

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“I met my husband Albert when he came into the pub where I was working and he just followed me all over!

“It was love at first sight for him.”

She added: “He came out of the army where he was a Sergeant Major and said that he wouldn’t do anything like that again, but he ended up joining the TA!”

The pair even appeared in the Gazette back in 1949 as they got married during a blizzard.

The headline was said to have read ‘bride in a blizzard.’

On her birthday celebrations, Lilly added: “I had a lovely day.”