Freda celebrates her 100th birthday with family in Melton

Freda Banks celebrates her 100th birthday with friends and family at her party EMN-150626-111109001

Freda Banks celebrates her 100th birthday with friends and family at her party EMN-150626-111109001

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The earliest memory of Freda Banks, who has celebrated her 100th birthday, is of soldiers returning home from the First World War as she grew up on her parents’ farm in Harby.

She now lives at Scalford Court Care Home after spending much of her life helping the community, including many years raising money for a wide range of charities.

Freda marked her special birthday with a party at the home surrounded by her family, which includes sons Peter, Keith and Robert, 10 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

She was married for more than 60 years to her beloved Ronald, who died in 2003. After getting engaged at the top of Thorpe Cloud hill in Derbyshire, the couple were married in Harby during the Second World War, on June 3, 1941.

Freda was living with her family at the time at Woodland Farm in Stathern and the newlyweds went off on a cycling honeymoon on a tandem bicycle - the break was short-lived though as Ronald had to return to his war duties on the south coast, where his brilliant engineering skills were helping radar detection of enemy aircraft approaching.

Their first marital home was in Evington Lane in Leicester and after the war ended she started work as a teacher at Mayflower Junior School.

The couple retired to Thrussington, where they enjoyed an active village life, including keen membership of the local history group.

Freda was a dedicated fundraiser for a number of causes, including Webb Ivory, Alzheimer’s Society, Arthitis Research, Woodland Trust, Save The Children, Wildlife Trust, Red cross, Water Aid, Vista, Rainbows Hospice and Parkinson’s Research.

She was a very good piano player and also enjoyed playing tennis, walking and cycling. She loved nature and wildlife and was a keen m,ember of the Women’s Institute.

Freda had good health until the age of 97 but after a brief illness she moved to the care home where she is feeling better due to the dedicated staff there.

Memories of her childhood remain from when she was growing up at Manor Farm in Harby with parents Herbert and Charlotte Fairbrouther and brothers Jack and Ray.

She attended Harby School and King Edward VII Grammar School in Melton, when she would cycle to the village train station and leave her bike there, confident it would still be there on her return. Occasionally she would travel to the station with the milk churns on the farm’s horse and cart which was en route to the dairy.

Freda was a teacher in Leicester during the Second World War and took her music group outings by train to her father’s Stathern farm to get out of the city.

Family has always been important to Freda and she meets up with her relatives in Derbyshire every year around her birthday with the latest get-together being a particularly special one.