Former petrol garage owner and taxi driver celebrates 100th birthday
- Credit: Rose Townsend
A former petrol garage owner and taxi driver who still lives independently has celebrated her 100th birthday.
Kathleen Welton celebrated her birthday on December 4 with a surprise party at her home in Worlingham, with close family, neighbours and carers from Home Support who help Mrs Welton.
Born in Colchester, Mrs Welton moved to Beccles after her father was demobbed.
Due to her mother being ill, Mrs Welton was brought up by her grandmother who was a seamstress and who taught Kath many of her skills in dressmaking.
Her grandfather was the organist at St Benets Catholic Church, Beccles.
Mrs Welton left school at 14 and got a job at Mr and Mrs Withington's confectionary store in Lowestoft.
Living with her sister Violet, she later got a job at Elliott and Garood, at the bottom of Fair Close, Beccles which at that time was making munitions for the war effort.
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This is where she met her future husband John Welton who worked there as a blacksmith.
The pair dated and married in 1942.
They moved into a semi-detached cottage adjacent to the blacksmiths forge.
Mr and Mrs Welton had four pumps selling National Benzole petrol and had a garage workshop, garage shop and washrooms constructed on the site of the forge.
Mrs Welton worked long hours in all weathers on the forecourt.
She also served customers in the small shop behind the pumps and drove a taxi.
Mrs Welton's niece, Rose Townsend said: "She was always there for any crisis; for example when one of the family, who was getting married, was let down by a Norwich store which had become bankrupt.
"Kath worked for a whole week making four bridesmaids dresses at short notice.
"Kath made many other bridesmaids dresses and even wedding dresses.
"She made toys for all the children including Wombles, Basil Brush and Rag dolls."
Mr and Mrs Welton had no children but after many years of hard work Jack and Kath were able to buy a detached bungalow in Lowestoft.
Mr Welton died in 1997, following which Kath moved to a smaller bungalow in Worlingham.
She has been housebound now for some years and over more recent years has had the assistance of carers whilst still living alone.