100 reasons for Jean to celebrate

A CARD from the Queen and a personal message from the Mayor of Oldham were just some of the well-wishes received as Jean Sykes celebrated her 100th birthday.

The Mayor Cllr Ginny Alexander sent a special message to Jean, who lives in Delph, along with a card and flowers as she was unable to visit due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Cllr Alexander said: “Sorry I can’t be with you to celebrate this very special birthday with you. I’m sending my love and best wishes on your special day.”

Jean (nee Rodger) was born in 1920 in Austerlands, attended Springhead School then later Alexandra Park School before leaving at 14.

Jean Sykes

A year later she was working in a plumber’s shop and attending Oldham School of Commerce three nights a week on a secretarial course.

As war loomed, Jean found employment as a bookkeeper with Eli Lees and Co – she was the first girl to work in this office.

She met future husband Jim in 1942 at the Froggatts Dance Hall, where they were regulars at the Saturday night dances.

They were married a year later at St James Church and after the war they bought a house in need of renovation at Top o’ th’ Meadows above Waterhead.

After seven years, they bought Temple Bar Farm on Wall Hill Road, which was their home for 27 years and where they brought up their children Elizabeth and Rodger. They have four grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

When they retired, they moved to Delph where Jean has lived ever since, even though Jim died 28 years ago.

Jean and Jim Sykes

Active in the community, Jean volunteered in the costume department for Saddleworth Players for 30 years.

Jean loved dancing and was a regular at Billingtons. She also loved to travel and visited France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Egypt, Malta and Kenya.

She still enjoys reading the Saturday newspaper, keeping fully informed of world events, cooking and gardening — and cha chas around the kitchen given half a chance.

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