102-year-old kept her independence

Date: Tuesday 29th January 2019

THE family of one of Appleby’s oldest residents, who has died aged 102, say she was helped to maintain an independent life by the care and support of the community.

The funeral of Gladys Sutton, of The Nook, Long Marton Road, took place yesterday. Despite being deaf and blind, until around five years ago Mrs Sutton would walk into town, guiding herself by counting paces.

Since then she had relied more on the bus service but was always helped around the town by many people, in particular the ladies at Bojangles cafe, David Cleator and by schoolchildren who would help her safely cross the road.

Born in Widnes in 1916, Mrs Sutton had three sisters and two brothers. She is survived by her youngest brother, Bill, aged 89.

She was raised in Manchester by her aunt and uncle and educated at Stanley Grove School, leaving aged 15 and starting work in a printers. It was as a teenager that she met her future husband, Ken Sutton, who lived nearby, and the couple married in Widnes on 7th June, 1941.

Making their first home together in Manchester, Ken worked as a motor mechanic. In 1942 their son Jack was born, followed by their daughter Shirley in 1945. Jack now lives in Bury, Manchester, but lived in Appleby from 1988 to 1999 and for some time ran the newsagents on The Sands.

He had bought the shop from his sister, Shirley, and her husband Gil Mason, who had ran it for around five years themselves. Shirley is well known in Appleby having worked as a driving instructor for 25 years.

Mr and Mrs Sutton moved to the Eden Valley around 1980 to be near Shirley and Gil and lived at Tollbar Cottage, Burrells.

Mr Sutton died in 1987 and Mrs Sutton later moved to The Nook where she latterly lived with Shirley and Gil. She also enjoyed spending time with her grandson Stephen, who is a postman in Penrith. During her retirement she enjoyed attending the Evergreen Club in Appleby and also loved bingo, music and watching sport on the television.

She would attend the Appleby senior citizen’s lunch each year, often being the first to get up for a dance. She also enjoyed holidays twice a year until she was around the age of 97, including to America and Canada.

Throughout her life she kept a close relationship with family in Widnes, especially her sister Audrey and her children. She would spend three weeks every year at Widnes with her nephew David.

Friends described her as a “resolute character whose strength of will was balanced by a keen sense of humour and a talent for enjoying herself”.

She is survived by her brother; her two children, Jack and Shirley; grandchildren Stephen, Paul, Andrew, Rebecca and Vicky; and nine great-grandchildren.