Pool-in-Wharfedale resident celebrates 100th birthday

Hilda Yates

Hilda Yates

First published in News

One of Pool-in-Wharfedale's oldest residents has celebrated her centenary in style.

Hilda Yates was greeted to piano renditions of Happy Birthday and Congratulations when she joined relatives and dozens of guests for a party at Wharfedale Court.

A resident at the sheltered housing complex for more than 20 years, Hilda was also presented with a massive cake and bouquets of flowers as everyone sat down to a delicious spread of food and refreshments.

Delighted at the piano recital, she said: "I didn't know the piano was here! I'm pleased it was, that was a nice surprise."

Still incredibly active for her age, she is not convinced there is any specific formula for long life.

She said: "I don't think so, I think it's just the luck of the draw, that's all."

Wharfedale Court's scheme manager Dawn Attwood, though, suspects her sharp sense of humour and keen interest in current affairs might have helped.

She said: "The piano playing was her present from all the residents.

"Hilda is still very active and has a terrific memory, and a wicked sense of humour.

"When she saw her birthday card from the Queen she said 'oh, she could have chenged her jacket - I've seen her in that one before'."

Born in Massachusetts in the United States, the youngest of James and Miriam Smith's three children, Hilda's family returned to England at the end of 1914 and she grew up in Halifax.

After school she worked in the weaving trade and she also helped part-time in the auxilliary fire service during the Second World War.

She met her husband Richard Yates, known as Dick, when he moved to Halifax from Leeds as a foreman for building firm Irwins.

The couple moved to Leeds, where Hilda continued to work in the weaving mills, after marrying and when they retired they became caretakers for offices in the centre of Leeds.

Dick died after they had moved to Queenswood Drive, in Headingley.

Wharfedale Court now has two centenarians, with resident Phyllis Clifton set to celebrate her 103rd birthday on May 1.

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