WHEN Elvira Clarke celebrated her 100th birthday with friends and family at Douglas Golf Club she chose not to accept gifts – but arranged instead for a collection to be held in aid of the island branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Mrs Clarke was born in Lonan a century ago, the eldest of six children born to William and Isabella Cowin.
Her father was a farmworker and, soon after she was born, he obtained a new position at Bibaloe Farm on the outskirts of Onchan.
The family remained there for eight years before moving to Ronaldsway Farm and then, three years later, to Ellerslie Farm in Crosby.
After leaving school at the age of 15, Elvira entered into service with the Crookall family at Woodlands on the junction of Alexandra Drive and Quarterbridge Road.
She remained in service for 21 years and left only when she married Harry Corrin in 1947, before the couple set up home at Rose Cottage, Greeba.
It was to remain her home for the next 62 years.
Harry died in 1960 at the relatively young age of 62 and for the next 10 years Elvira faced up to life once again as a single person in domestic service – this time on a part-time basis at Uplands in Ballavitchel Road.
In 1970, she married again – this time to Harold Clarke and they enjoyed a happy and contented marriage until his untimely death in 1984.
Elvira’s younger sister Marion came to live with her at Rose Cottage. They kept each other company for 23 years until Marion died in 2008.
Two years ago she finally called it a day at Rose Cottage – deciding that another winter with just coal fires in the parlour and kitchen was asking a touch too much of even her remarkable constitution.
She now lives in Fuchsia Court in Governor’s Hill, Douglas, enjoying all its modern comforts.