May Corlett has celebrated her 100th birthday at her home in Glen Vine with a visit from the Lieutenant Governor, Sir John Lorimer.
Born in the village of Burtonwood, near Warrington, May left at 14 to work as a child-minder at a vicarage, before going on to work at the Admiralty in Warrington at 18.
Her memories of the Second World War include hearing the Luftwaffe planes flying over to air raid sirens, and seeing clouds of smoke and flames from the bombing of Liverpool.
She met Arthur Corlett when her parents took in lodgers who were building the airport at Burtonwood, with Arthur having worked for a company that had just built Jurby airfield.
While there he would receive his papers to sign-up for the RAF, and they would go on to marry in 1942.
After the war they moved to the island and lived in a military Nissen hut on what is now Janet’s Corner in Castletown, described as ‘quite a nice one’ as it once belonged to an officer.
Together they had five children (Elaine, Lin, Graham, Cathy, and David), ten grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren – all of whom were girls.
Arthur died in 1991.
May remains active in the community, being involved with Marown Church (having worked as a warden there), Marown Mothers’ Union (where she was a group leader), and Marown Women’s Institute and Lunch Club.
Asked about how she feels about turning 100, she said that it’s ‘just a number’ but ‘a bit sad as [she has] lost so many friends’.
Also in attendance at the celebration attended by Sir John, in a house filled with people, were family who had travelled from the UK, Ireland and Sweden, and as far away as Mexico, the USA and Canada.
The night before they enjoyed a dinner at the Comis Hotel, with the Southern Belles group singing wartime music. This June, May will be celebrating on ‘a leisurely river cruise’ with some family.
The family wishes to thank ‘everyone who over the years have been involved in taking her to the many various events that she enjoys attending’, and the well-wishers with their cards and donations in lieu of presents to her chosen charities – the Hyperbaric Chamber and Hospice IOM.