Win shares a century of Rugby memories as she marks 100th birthday

A well-known Rugby woman is looking forward to celebrating her 100th birthday at Rugby Bowling Club this weekend, June 26.

Win said she is very excited to meet friends and family again at her party.
Win said she is very excited to meet friends and family again at her party.

Winnifred Few, who much prefers to be called Win, was born in New Bilton in 1922 – and she said she has seen Rugby change an extraordinary amount.

An only child, Win spent much of her youth in her father’s barbershops, and talking to the customers meant she was never shy growing up.

Because of his job as a barber, father William was very well known, and Win too knew many in the town.

Schooling was done at St Oswald’s and later Westlands, and Win said she was glad when it was over at the age of 14.

"I never liked school, but I held my own and muddled through,” she said.

She first met her husband Albert (or Bert, as he prefered to be called) during a Salvation Army parade in the town.

Bert was playing in the brass band and she was immeditely taken by his handsomeness.

"He was head and shoulders above me - and very well put together,” she said.

The pair married in a registery office in 1941 and had two daughters, Sheila in 1941 and Nora in 1948.

Win worked at Lodge Plugs through the Second World War and she said it was very much ‘business as usual’.

Though she does recall hearing of a stray Luftwaffe bomb hitting Rugby’s George Street one night.

She said: "They said it was a bomber that got lost, and he needed to get rid of his bombs to save fuel.

"I don’t think anyone was hurt, thankfully – I know I would remember if someone had been hurt.”

Win said the years that followed were very happy.

She said: “We had a simple life, Bert was never out of a job, but we didn’t ever have lots of money.

"Bert once broke his ribs when he fell off his moped, but we bandaged him up and he was straight back to work carrying coal – he was very hardworking.

"We would go cycling and walking a lot – and Bert loved fishing.”

During the war Bert worked as a lorry driver, and later did a variety of jobs, including briefly serving as a fire fighter in the town.

The two were happily married until Bert died in 1998.

Win said that if there is one thing she would like to tell younger people, it is the importance of appreciating what you have.

She said: “Times were tough back then, there was rationing for years after the war and we never had much.

"We didn’t eat much meat and there was a lot of ‘make do and mend’.

"But we were happy because we appreciated what we did have.”

Win has four grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and two great-great-children, and she said she is looking forward to meeting family and friends this weekend.

"I can’t get about as much as I used to, so it will be lovely to see eveyone again.”