Surviving bombs to reach 101

GET-TOGETHER: Selina Deathers celebrating her 101st birthday with her children (from left) Robert Deathers, Betty Crane and David Deathers

GET-TOGETHER: Selina Deathers celebrating her 101st birthday with her children (from left) Robert Deathers, Betty Crane and David Deathers

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A GREAT-GRANDMOTHER who suffered traumatic wartime experiences has celebrated a milestone birthday.

Selina Deathers, a resident at the Elwick Grange care home, in Elwick Road, Hartlepool, turned 101 yesterday and enjoyed a family get-together.

The mother-of-three had two particularly traumatic experiences during the Second World War.

Her daughter, Betty Crane, 64, who lives on the town’s Headland with husband Thomas, said Selina gave birth to son Robert in the former St Hilda’s Hospital when bombs were dropping on the Headland.

The patients were taken down into the cellar and Selina had to have a Caesarean section. Her hair turned white overnight following the unnerving experience.

In another wartime incident, Betty said a bomb dropped in Selina’s street and the blast lifted her from one end of the room to the other.

Despite her ordeals, Betty said: “She is still as sprightly as ever.

“She likes watching the television and DVDs.

“Years ago she used to like Spencer Tracy, but at the moment she likes watching Home Alone and has a good chuckle.”

Selina celebrated her birthday with a party and cake with relatives including sons Robert Deathers, 72, who travelled from his home in Spain, and David Deathers, 68, and grandsons Kevin and Robert Deathers who travelled from Winchester and Newcastle respectively.

Selina is also grandmother to Andrew Deathers and Michael, Peter, Phillip and Stephen Crane, and great-grandchildren Kylle and Brianne Crane.

Betty added: “She’s really happy.

“She always has a good time when the family gets together, that’s what mum likes.”

Selina was born on the Headland on January 26, 1910, to parents Elizabeth and Samuel Henry Brannen.

She had a sister called Elizabeth Bates and her brothers were Samuel and Steven Brannen.

The former Galleysfield School pupil left school at 14 before working all over the country as a nanny and cook.

She also worked at St Hilda’s Hospital as a cook to the doctors and nurses.

She married Robert Deathers in 1936 and the couple were wed for 25 years until he passed away in 1961 after suffering a heart attack.