Weston woman looks back on her well-travelled life

PUBLISHED: 10:00 25 September 2013 | UPDATED: 10:05 25 September 2013

Mary Temple, celebrating her 100th birthday

Mary Temple, celebrating her 100th birthday


A WESTON woman who travelled the world caring for others has turned 100.

Mary Temple has lived through two world wars and has celebrated her milestone birthday with family from all over the globe.

She trained as a nurse and met her future husband in an operating theatre in Ipswich. The couple got engaged before the war and married when John was on leave from the army in 1941.

After the war, John was appointed to Weston as a consultant surgeon, and Mary has lived here ever since. He was a general surgeon at Weston General Hospital from 1952 until 1977, and they had five children together.

But he was keen on travelling the globe to help others and they flew to the Ivory Coast to help in a hospital, and drove home on a road trip which lasted a month.

Mary said: “My husband told me to fly home but I wasn’t going to sit in Weston and worry about him.” When John retired they went to Sierra Leone to do missionary work in a rural hospital.

Mary said: “It was such a fantastic experience, a real adventure. When we got to Africa we were just sorry we couldn’t stay longer.”

They later travelled to the Solomon Islands, to visit relatives. John suffered from a stroke, which rendered him paralysed down his left side.

When John knew he could not return to work, the couple decided to travel the globe, visiting Nepal, Kenya and Seattle among others. Her husband died in 1994, and Mary took a flat at Clarence House, where she has lived ever since.

She said: “I’m happy here in a quiet way. I still enjoy life, especially my family who are so supportive.

“I decided to stay in Weston because my family are so scattered, I thought because everybody is so far away I would stay here where my friends are, where I knew people. I’m happy here, it’s a good place.”

The family met at St Paul’s Church Hall on August 31, the day before her birthday, with 80 relatives spanning four generations.

Although the Temple family are Weston natives, the celebrations were quite an international gathering.

Family from Belgium, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Iran and the Lebanon all attended to wish Mary a happy birthday.

Her eldest daughter, Margaret Baxter, aged 71, from Derbyshire, said: “Life settled when we came to Weston in 1952. I had an amazingly fun childhood.

“She was in hospital last year for 10 days, and when she got out she said ‘I think I’ll live to 100 now’.”

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