A SURPRISE 100th birthday party has been held at a National Trust site near Pershore.
Hilda Newman, who was once the lady’s maid to Lady Blanche of Coventry at Croome, celebrated reaching the milestone with friends and family at Croome Court on Saturday, August 13.
Born in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Hilda trained as a seamstress but her ambition in life was to be a lady’s maid, so in the 1930s she went to Croome to work for Lady Coventry.
It was during that time she met and married Roland Newman, the chauffeur to the Earl of Coventry.
Hilda continued working as a lady’s maid until the outbreak of the Second World War, when she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service – the women’s branch of the British Army.
After the war, she worked as a seamstress at various dress shops in Worcester until she retired.
Hilda has been able to share her fascinating life at Croome in many ways including appearing on Country File, writing her own book called ‘Diamonds at Dinner’ and recording pieces for Croome’s Oral History Project.
Hilda’s son Martyn Newman said: “I’m proud of mum and all her achievements. She taught me respect and courteousness, which has stood me in good stead throughout my life.
“She’s a very kind person who has a set of standards that she has always expected me and my brother to stick to. We all love her very much.”
Her other son, Allan Newman, said: “Although suffering from arthritis very badly, she always keeps going and cooks and bakes for herself. She’s still alert and always shows an interest in her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
“It’s been difficult to keep the party a secret from her. We’re lucky to still have her as part of our family,” he said.