Celebrations for centenarian Hilda
A woman who grew up in Bedlington and today lives in Australia recently celebrated her 100th birthday.
Hilda Pearson, born on May 29, 1917, completed her schooling at about the age of 14 and left to do domestic work further south.
This money was sent home to help the family – her parents were John and Abigail Worn and she had two sisters, Emma and Rachael, and two brothers, Stanley and Sidney. Her father was a coal miner.
She then worked for a well-off family in London and after returning to Bedlington, she later married Jack Pearson.
They were married at Bedlington Station and settled there, with Jack working in the nearby coal mines.
Their first son, named John, only lived for five months. Then came Bill, Irene (who died in 2005), Sheila and John (who died in 2011).
As times were hard during and after the Second World War, they decided to emigrate to Australia in 1952 to give their children a better life.
Her brother Sidney and his wife Jean also came to Australia, but later moved to New Zealand.
The Pearson family eventually settled on the south coast of New South Wales (NSW) at Warrawong in the Illawara district. Jack worked as a crane chaser in the steel works at Port Kembla and Hilda was employed at the Port Kembla Hospital in the staff cafeteria, then in the coffee shop.
Following retirement, they moved to Halfway Creek in 1983, and later to Grafton in a different area of NSW.
Seven grandchildren came along and Hilda now has eight great grandchildren.
Jack died in 1995 and his widow continued to reside at Clarence Village up until her move in November last year to Dougherty Villa, which she now calls home.
Hilda enjoyed travelling, including going back to England a few times to visit family. She still has family in Bedlington.
She did a sky dive, with Sheila and two of her granddaughters also taking part, on her 90th birthday that raised significant funds for the Grafton oncology unit in memory of Irene.