Plucky St Albans resident Peggy hits a century

B L-R Harry Brampton, Tim Parker, Eddie Brampton 2, Chris Brampton, Trudi Parker, Ruth Brampton
F L-

B L-R Harry Brampton, Tim Parker, Eddie Brampton 2, Chris Brampton, Trudi Parker, Ruth Brampton F L-R Harry Parker 6, Peggy Brampton 100, James Parker 8 - Credit: Archant

There’s no stopping Peggy Brampton – even though she has just celebrated her 100th birthday.

For it was only two years ago that she used to walk up to the bus stop to get to St Albans market twice a week.

Even now, she is kept busy with her friends and family and still gets out and about with a little help from them.

Peggy celebrated her 100th birthday with a mass at SS Alban and Stephen Church in Beaconsfield Road followed by a buffet lunch for around 120 guests, the centrepiece of which was a three-tier cake.

Of Irish lineage – her father was from Cork and her mother from Limerick – Peggy is not the oldest in the family because her sister Doreen has notched up 101 years.

She was born in Balham and moved to St Albans in 1944 when she married Alban Brampton, the boyfriend she was seeing before the outbreak of World War Two.

During the war she worked in the Midland Bank head office in Cheapside and vividly remembers what life was like in London.

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She said: “I used to catch the bank’s ‘charabanc’ coach each morning but we always seemed to go a different rute through London because of the roads destroyed by bombs during the night.

“After work I would go along to London Bridge to help at the shelter. I never knew coming home at the end of each day if our house would still be standing.

“All the panes of glass were shattered during the blitz. You couldn’t look out of the windows as the council fitted black-out panels instead of glass.” Peggy regarded coming to St Albans to see Alban as ‘a rest’. She used to hear people getting annoyed when one or two planes flew over knowing that it was nothing compared to being bombarded night after night.

Alban lived at the Croft in Folly Lane and he signed up to join the RAF the day war was declared. The couple married at SS Alban and Stephen Church the week after he returned from service when they were both 30.

They lived with Alban’s parents initially before buying a three-bedroomed house in Cottonmill with a large garden in which they grew their own vegetables and fruit.

During her working life Peggy was employed at the St Albans Bus Garage canteen, as a dinner lady at Pemberton School and at Marconi Instruments and in the offices of Metropolian College.

She has also been very involved in community work in the city, helping out at the Abbey, Oxfam and on various church committees. Until a recent fall, she prepared the lunches and teas for the handicapped at St Mary’s Church in Marshalswick.

Alban died at the age of 69 and the couple had a son Harry. In addition she has two grandchildren and three great grandchildren with another on the way.