A RESIDENT at Greenways care home in Long Itchington has reached an extraordinary 104-years-old and is still “living her life to the fullest”.
Freda Spraggett celebrated her impressive landmark birthday surrounded by friends at the care home near Southam on Monday (July 11) and recounts a long and colourful life.
She was born in 1918, the eighth of 12 children, who all lived together in Stockton. Out of her 11 siblings, all but two lived well into their 80s and 90s, with two still alive today.
The family originally lived in a house in Mount Pleasant in Stockton and then moved to Victoria Terrace, which was cement works housing. Times were hard and Freda’s parents grew vegetables and kept a pig in a sty at the back of the house.
Freda recalls how she would come home at lunchtime from Stockton School and take her dad’s lunch to him at the cement works before resuming her lessons.
On leaving school Freda found work at Arnold Lodge School in Leamington and shared a flat in the town with her older sister. During WW2 they narrowly escaped a bomb which dropped near there.
She eventually left for better pay and conditions at the Standard Motor Company at Canley in Coventry which later became Standard Triumph. Her reminisces of her job were recorded by a British Motor Museum volunteer at Gaydon and before lockdown could be heard on headphones there. They were also recorded in an issue of Triumph World magazine and the magazine of the Standard Motor Club.
She married her husband John, from Long Itchington, in 1945. They had no children but the family next door had two daughters who regarded Freda and John as almost surrogate parents and one still visits Freda in Greenways. John died in 2012.
Freda and John shared a lifelong love of jazz and were regulars at the Naval Club in Leamington for many years and also went to jazz events at the Fox and Hen in Bascote Heath. They also enjoyed ballroom dancing.
Freda lived alone until 2018, until after a number of falls she decided to move into Greenways.
Claire Callender, Manager at Greenways, told the Observer: “Freda is a very special and amazing lady who is still very active and living her life to the fullest”.