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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Brampton woman's secret to making it to 100

Plenty of work and having a giggle are the secrets to living to 100, according to farming trailblazer Dorothy Nelson.

Dorothy Nelson photo
Dorothy Nelson

And hard work is something she has been well used to as trailblazer for women in farming, coupled with raising her family.

Mrs Nelson, who lives at Green Lane House, Greenhill, Brampton, celebrated her special birthday yesterday with her daughters, Lucy and Rebecca, other family members and special friends.

Rebecca, 54, a teacher in Cheshire, said: “We had a celebratory lunch without mum at Eden Golf Club and then we came back to the home for a special birthday tea with cake and a sing song.”

Lucy, 56, who lives in Montana in America, said: “Mum has had a very interesting and varied life and she is very witty with a quick sense of humour.

“Every day of her life she has been out walking so she was very active.”

Mrs Nelson, who had four siblings, was born in Middleton St George, near Darlington, on March 7, 1913.

Her family moved and settled at Milton Hall, just outside Brampton, and lived there until 1947.

During World War Two, she joined the Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS) and helped by driving field vehicles around Carlisle.

Her family said: “Although she had never taken a formal test, her knowledge of how to drive a tractor was sufficient qualification for the job.”

Later, Mrs Nelson worked in the canteen of the Catholic Women’s League in Carlisle and lived on English Street.

Her family said: “She used to recount the story of waking one night with the dread of believing she had left the canteen lights on and how she dashed through Carlisle in her dressing gown and slippers only to be apprehended by a policeman wondering where she was going in such attire.

“Needless to say, when they got there, the canteen lights were off – but, had the reverse been true, it would have been a serious offence at the time of the blackout.”

Mrs Nelson, who has seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, was secretary of the Penrith and the Border Conservative Women’s Tea Club for 45 years and recieved a plaque of thanks from John Major and William Hague for her long service and dedicated work.

She also lived at Eden Bank, Wetheral where she began a career in farming and she bought a succession of small farms before buying Corby Hall Farm in February 1954.

For Mrs Nelson, being a successful lady farmer, was not her only triumph. She bred donkeys and two of them took part in an historical pageant in Carlisle, attended by Princess Margaret, in 1951. She continued to own and breed donkeys until the mid 1980s.

Her family said: “In the latter part of the 1950s, Dorothy again broke with the convention of the time and decided to adopt Lucy in 1956 and Rebecca in 1958. She began her role as mother at the age of 43.”

She married Brampton doctor Harry Nelson when she was 61.

The pair were married 23 years and enjoyed a mutual love of antiques, gardening, bridge, fishing holidays in Scotland and dogs.

Mrs Nelson, who is the longest resident at Green Lane House, said: “A letter from the Queen is worth turning 100 for.”

In her younger days, she was a keen skier, skater, tennis player and loved horse racing.

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