Remarkable Kathleen celebrates her 100th birthday
KATHLEEN Fox, who has lived a remarkable life, has just celebrated her 100th birthday.
Here, daughter Mary Hurt, tells Kathleen’s story...
KATHLEEN Fox has recently celebrated her 100th birthday enjoying several very happy events, both at her daughter’s house with family members and at Marwood Residential Home, Shepshed, where she now lives.
Kathleen formerly lived in Belton but is originally from Manchester.
She moved to Loughborough in 1976 to be near her daughter and her growing family.
During her long and eventful life Kathleen can reflect on many years of service, both to her country and to her local communities.
In her early 20s she acted as a volunteer nurse with the St John Ambulance, caring for the injured during the blitz in Manchester. Subsequently she joined the WAAF and was promoted to Sergeant.
Her secret and vital work as a watch keeper with the RAF Pathfinders involved her losing many friends who were pilots and crew of the bombers, flying nightly in raids over Germany.
She also flew twice, secretly, in Lancaster bombers, having persuaded the pilots to take her up on practice flights during the day.
After corresponding with a prisoner of war for several years, she married him in 1945 and had three children.
After a serious illness in her 40s Kathleen became a devotee of natural healing and started a local branch of the Nature Cure Society of Great Britain.
The group was hugely successful. Run in her own home, meetings involved specialist talks and discussions, whole food suppers, provided by Kathleen and her friends and large numbers of attendees.
Kathleen organised many other events with this group, including holidays to the Lake District, where members learned the art of vegetarian cookery.
One of Kathleen’s special memories is of 1961 when Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space and her hero, visited the city of Manchester.
The whole city turned out to greet him along the route, which had been printed in the Manchester Evening News.
Kathleen, determined to see him up close and show her admiration for his momentous achievement, found a quiet spot where, by chance, she was completely alone.
As the motorcade approached with Yuri standing in the open topped Bentley, Kathleen ran alongside, cheering and throwing kisses to him. To her utter delight Yuri smiled charmingly and blew several kisses just for her.
Her day was complete, her hero personally acknowledged and her mission accomplished!
This memory is still as clear and exciting after 57 years.
After her move to Loughborough Kathleen became a volunteer for the Homestart scheme, run from John Storer House.
She worked with a nonEnglish speaking Bangladeshi family for many years, teaching them English and helping them to adapt to their new way of life.
She was highly regarded by the family and has very fond memories of these times.
By the time she left the family they had a comfortable home and the children were established at local schools; they have subsequently done well in their careers, one of them obtaining a degree.
During this time Kathleen, a divorcee, met and married Frank, a widower who had, for many years, been a Special Constable in Melton Mowbray.
Through her connection with John Storer House, Kathleen and Frank were approached to start up a Victim Support Scheme locally.
This proved a great success and after Frank had a stroke, Kathleen continued to organise the scheme in all its aspects, training volunteers, counselling victims of crime, running the office and organising meetings of the committee for many years until she retired.
Not only this, but she took driving lessons and passed her test at the age of 72!
Kathleen has always enjoyed writing and has had many of her articles printed in various publications; she has read one of her stories on Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, has read her material on Radio Leicester and has written many stories from her long life for her family.
Her reminiscence of a childhood family holiday in Blackpool was printed in the local paper there and she was invited by the Mayoress of the town to visit her at the Blackpool Town Hall.
A chauffeur was sent to her hotel and Kathleen was driven in style to meet the Lady Mayor. This event was recorded in the local newspaper alongside Kathleen’s story.
At the age of 90 she bought a computer and, with the help of her son in law, learned to e-mail, look up information, send e-greetings, watch YouTube videos of her favourite singers and generally revel in being a part of the technology age, rather than being a bystander.
Kathleen is proud to celebrate her 100th birthday along with the Royal Air Force, established also in
Representatives of the RAF Association and the British Legion visited Kathleen on her birthday to present her with a gift and to acknowledge her birthday and her contribution to the defending forces during World War Two.
She also received a card from the Queen, with which she was very pleased.
Her family are extremely proud of Kathleen for her many achievements and accomplishments during her long life and for her dignity in old age.
Kathleen still has a zest for life, a curiosity about what is happening in the world and a caring and thoughtful attitude towards others.
The family have declared her officially as a National Treasure!
Kathleen Fox who has just turned 100 with daughter Mary Hurt.
Kathleen Fox with her two grandsons, Dan and Sam, Sam’s partner Michelle and the two great grandchildren, Louie and Eris.