'She's worked hard all her life': Former wartime parachute maker May celebrates turning 100 years old with family party

May Goodwin celebrated turning 100 by hosting a party, on the same day as her great-granddaughter graduated from Oxford University

By Adam Barker
Monday, 9th May 2022, 9:29 am
May Goodwin celebrates her 100th birthday at Nelson Place in Stanground (image: David Lowndes)
May Goodwin celebrates her 100th birthday at Nelson Place in Stanground (image: David Lowndes)

A Peterborough woman celebrated turning 100 years old over the weekend by hosting a party for her family and friends at her retirement home in Stanground.

May Goodwin, who was born on May 7, 1922, was surrounded by almost 100 of her family and friends to celebrate her 100th birthday at Nelson Place, off Coneygree Road.

May married her late husband, Albert – who was a Royal Marine commander and served in the D-Day landings during the Second World War – in Werrington, on September 10, 1941 – when she was 19 years old.

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May Goodwin pictured with her son Patrick Goodwin (image: David Lowndes)

“It’s who you have besides you who get you through,” May said.

“Make time for them, talk to them, ask for their advice – and look after your children.”

May has lived at Nelson Place for the last 30 years.

On her birthday, on Saturday (May 7), she received her second card from Her Majesty the Queen – having previously been sent a card from the monarch for her golden wedding anniversary – for 50 years of marriage to her husband Albert.

May used to work as a parachute maker during the Second World War, after a skilled career making corsets (image: David Lowndes)

"She’s seen a lot of life and experienced a lot,” May’s son, Patrick Goodwin, said.

May worked as a corset tailor before later working at a parachute factory during the Second World War – supporting the war effort by using her skills in textiles.

One Friday evening, in 1942, May and her colleagues at the factory had a lucky escape after leaving off work for the weekend – watching on from a distance as a bomb was dropped directly onto the factory.

May later went on to become a cook – and still remains a keen baker.

She once had a television company cook her a meal in her apartment at the retirement home.

So, what’s May’s secret to living to 100? Well, according to her son, Patrick, he credited "the gym of life”.

“She’s never stepped foot in a gym,” he said. “But she’s worked hard all her life – and always helped other people.”