Former Diggle shopkeeper Mona celebrates milestone 100th birthday

MONA Jefferson marked her 100th birthday with a family party, telegram from the Queen – and a cigarette!

Mona celebrates with her large family

In fact, Mona has been partial to a smoke since working as a porter at Diggle station during World War Two.

“She tells us that’s where she learned to smoke,” said son-in-law Malcolm Parkin who attended the Centenary celebrations on August 27 together with surviving daughters Olwen and Anne and other family members and friends. Sadly, a third daughter, Margaret, has passed away.

The happy event took place at Olwen’s home in Leyland, Lancashire where mum of three Mona has lived since 2001.

However, her roots are firmly in Saddleworth, and Diggle in particular. 

Mona and husband Robert served generations of shoppers at their mixed grocery business on Huddersfield Road, opposite Diggle Chippy and adjacent to the Gate Inn.

The only daughter of Mr and Mrs Walter Cox, Mona was born at number four Sam Road in 1918 and attended Kiln Green infants school before moving to Uppermill Council School. 

A porter at Diggle station

Her early employment was at Warth Mill, but she became a porter at Diggle Station during the Second World War having married fellow Diggler Robert ‘Bob’ Jefferson in 1940.

Robert, a sergeant major in the Military Police, and Mona later took on the running of the family business started by Robert’s father in the 1920s.

They had the shop for nearly 40 years and eventually retired in 1981.

Robert died in 1994 but Mona, a grandmother of six and great grandma of nine, continued to live in Diggle until moving in with Olwen 17 years ago. 

“Mona was an active member of the church at Kiln Green and regularly played the piano,” added Malcolm. 

“She is very proud of her Saddleworth heritage and I am sure many people in Diggle will still remember her and Robert.

“Sadly, when you reach 100 your friends have passed before you.”

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