Birthday celebrations for 100-year-old St Albans seamstress

PUBLISHED: 17:00 25 November 2017

Left to right: 100-year-old Winnie and her two children, Peter and Jennifer. Picture: Peter Jeffs

Left to right: 100-year-old Winnie and her two children, Peter and Jennifer. Picture: Peter Jeffs


A born and bred St Albans woman will be celebrating the milestone of her 100th birthday in style.

Winnie Jeffs, 99, is having three parties - one with fellow residents at Grace Muriel House care home, one with close-family, and one an all-out bonanza with friends at St Stephen’s Church.

She was born on December 2 1917 in Fleetville, living with her two older sisters and younger brothers until she married George Jeffs in St Peter’s Church at 25 years old.

The happy couple moved to Cottonmill, started a family, and became ingrained in the local community. Win was instrumental in raising funds for the construction of St Julian’s Church, running a branch of the Girls Friendly Society, and manning the St Albans Cathedral book stall for 40 years with George.

As a seamstress Win worked for local business W O Peake, later Aquascutum, sewing Rodex ladies coats. During World War Two the delicate fingered tailor turned her attentions to constructing de Havilland aeroplanes at Hawker Siddeley.

One day leaving work at Hawker Siddeley, Win was shot at by a plane in the Blitz - but luckily unhurt.

The Jeffs retired to Chiswell Green before George passed away in 1991. Afterwards Win lived independently in a flat until she was 98, before finally moving to Grace Muriel last year.

Win says the secret to longevity is remaining active physically and mentally, including bike riding well into her 70s, reading, completing crosswords, and writing memoirs for the St Stephen’s Church magazine.

She now has four grandchildren and five great grandchildren who will help her celebrate next month.

Win’s son Peter Jeffs said: “She’s a wise sage, in that she is forever recounting stories to children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. She’s unflappable, but that’s a result of someone who has survived through the Blitz, so she doesn’t panic in any situation, she’s very relaxed.

“She’s close to the community and a well known and active member of the church.

“She’s got lots of friends and she will speak to anybody.”

He said Win was the second person in the family to turn 100-years-old in the last couple of years.

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A few years back I was fixing a shed in our garden and had enlisted the help of my young son. We were busy moving rotten pieces of wood from the side of the shed when suddenly I felt sharp stabbing pains in my lower legs. Before I had a chance to investigate my son started screaming in pain and it took a few more seconds to realize that we were trampling on a wasps’ nest!

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