MILDRED Smith was expecting a quiet family lunch to celebrate her 100th birthday.
So imagine her shock when a limousine arrived at her Golcar home on Saturday to whisk her off to a party for 40 relatives and friends at Scapegoat Hill Junior and Infant School.
There, another surprise lay in store.
An organ played and people sang as she stepped from the car, then head teacher Keith Shilton presented her with the register book for the year she started as a pupil. It contains the names of her siblings and many friends and classmates.
Mildred is the school’s oldest living former pupil and it holds a special place in her heart. She opened a classroom at the school after a £400,000 refurbishment last May, along with the youngest pupil, four-year-old Freddie Stewart.
She started there as a pupil in 1912, but as she grew up the venue was also used as a village hall, a home for drama clubs and even Christmas celebrations.
Her daughter, Sylvia Wood, said: “It has been a very special place for her. She had some of the happiest times of her life there and so it seemed right to celebrate there.”
It was Sylvia, Mildred’s only child, who organised the celebrations, including ordering a birthday card from the Queen.
She said: “She’s been a wonderful mum and I can only repay her like this. She thought she was just going for a family lunch!”
Mildred was born at 100 Spring Head at Scapegoat Hill – now High Street – on May 3, 1908.
She attended the local school and lived in the village until she married husband George.
They lived in Wellhouse, then Leymoor and moved back to Scapegoat Hill in 1954 to run the New Inn.
They were popular publicans and Mildred ran social groups, including a women’s crochet club. The couple kept the pub until it was sold in the mid-1960s. They moved to Brook Lane at Golcar and Mr Smith retired. He died in 1985, aged 76.
Mildred is still active and needs only the aid of a Zimmer frame after breaking her hip in an accident.
She is also a doting grandmother to Darren and his wife Louise and great-grandmother to their children, Oliver, six, Jessica, four and one-year-old William, who had to battle for survival last year after being born weighing just over 1lb.
Mrs Wood said: “The children love her and it’s like a miracle for William to be there celebrating with her after all his problems. It’s been really wonderful.”