Woman whose father died in Titanic disaster celebrates 100th birthday

PUBLISHED: 13:00 16 January 2013

(L-R) Nancy with her sisters Joyce and Ruth Mayberry at Sidcot School

(L-R) Nancy with her sisters Joyce and Ruth Mayberry at Sidcot School

Sidcot School

A FORMER Sidcot School pupil whose father died in the Titanic disaster has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Nancy Woodhead, from Winscombe, celebrated the landmark with two parties, with guests ranging in age from her 95-year-old cousin to her one-year-old great-granddaughter.

She was born eight months after her father, Frank Mayberry, lost his life in the infamous maritime disaster, in which 1,517 people died on April 15, 1912.

The 36-year-old had bought a second class ticket for the so-called ‘unsinkable’ ocean liner to tie up business interests in Canada, but was among the 90 per cent of men in second class who died when the ship hit an iceberg and sank in the Atlantic.

Nancy, who lives at Sewell House in Belmont Road, said: “My mother rarely talked about the Titanic, and its aftermath, when families had to fight for compensation.

“She told Ruth and I that she had had a premonition on the night of the sinking. She dreamt she was drowning and was holding the two girls up to be saved. When she woke she thought she saw Frank at the foot of her bed.”

Having left the Quaker school at 18, Nancy worked as a helper at a Swiss school, in London hospitals during World War Two and ran the Red Lion Hotel in Crewkerne alongside husband Stanley Pimley, with whom she had daughter Alison and son Roger.

After he died in 1956 they moved back to Winscombe and she worked as a physiotherapist in Weston.

She married Irwin Woodhead when she was 63, and they both became members of the Sidcot Friends Meeting. Irwin died in 2003.

Speaking after her two parties, Nancy added: “I was overwhelmed to see so many people including my 95-year-old cousin Douglas and one year old great-granddaughter, Kitty Nancy Baxter. It was wonderful.”

Sidcot headteacher Iain Kilpatrick marked the occasion by offering a £50 book voucher to the Sidcot Action Groups Environment for a Greener Achievement.

He said: “So many of Nancy’s family have attended Sidcot School, we wanted to mark her birthday with a prize that will benefit the school’s environment action group.”

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Weston Mercury. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Weston Mercury