Tributes paid to ‘born entertainer’ Gladys, 107

Gladys Ferry pictured on her 105th birthday and (below) aged 16
Gladys Ferry pictured on her 105th birthday and (below) aged 16

A “CARING and funny” great-great grandmother has died at the age of 107 – after defying doctors who feared the worst when she was born three months early and slept in a shoebox.

Battling Gladys Ferry spent her life entertaining others with jokes and dedicating her time to caring for her family.

Gladys Ferry age 16.

Gladys Ferry age 16.

But last week the former pub landlady’s long and happy life came to an end when she died in Stichell House Care Home, in Hartlepool.

Her granddaughter-in-law, Janet Warren, said: “She was an absolutely lovely lady and a born entertainer.

“Even up until two years ago at every family gathering or occasion she would stand up and tell her favourite jokes.”

Gladys was born in 1905 three months prematurely, and weighed the equivalent of a bag of sugar.

Janet said it was well-known within the family that doctors didn’t expect Gladys to survive.

She was so small she spent the first two weeks sleeping in a shoebox.

“She came into this world fighting and she lasted all that time,” said Janet, a photographer and mum-of-two who lives in Seaton Carew, with husband, David.

“She must have had those battling quality about her throughout her life.”

Gladys grew up with her parents, Charles and Elizabeth Gayford, and her younger sister, Beth, in Crossley Street, in West Hartlepool.

The only time she left the town was when she briefly worked on a naval base in Falmouth during the Second World War.

She later ran the Victoria pub, in Whitby Street and the Stranton pub, along with her husband Harry before retiring in 1972.

The couple’s only child, Betty Warren, died of cancer aged just 51, around 30 years ago.

Gladys, who also had two grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren, lived in Seaton Carew until she was 98 when she went into warden-controlled housing.

“She will be missed by a lot of people,” said Janet.

“She was a character in Stichell House, she used to stride up and down the corridors and carry her walking frame.

“She remembered the bombardment and all of the newspaper coverage of the Titanic sinking. She used to tell us so many stories.”