A REMARKABLE Huddersfield woman celebrates her 106th birthday today.
Maude Cooper founded the town’s Mencap group and cared for her severely disabled daughter until a few years ago.
The Crosland Moor woman, whose older brother died at the Battle of Gallipoli, is believed to be the oldest person in Huddersfield.
Maude Crowther was born in Paddock on January 1, 1905.
She grew up on Blackmoorfoot Road in Crosland Moor with her sister Lily and brothers Arthur and Harold.
Maude’s father abandoned the family when she was just 18 months old, leaving her mother to cope alone.
Harold served in the British Army during the First World War and was killed at the Battle of Gallipoli. The 19-year-old’s remains were buried in Malta.
Maude, who worked as a weaver, married Harold Cooper at St Thomas’ Church on Manchester Road in 1932.
The couple’s only child Jean was born in 1935 with severe learning difficulties.
Maude cared for her daughter every day for 67 years until the strain became too much for her in 2002 at the age of 97.
Jean, now 75, is cared for at Oxfield Court Nursing Home in Dalton.
Maude founded Huddersfield Mencap after struggling to find support to care for her daughter
Maude’s niece Janet Haworth said: “There was absolutely no help for children with special needs back then.
“But Maude is a formidable woman and she decided to do something about it. She set up a Mencap branch in Huddersfield and she organised a chalet at St Leonards-on-Sea where parents and their disabled children could go for a break.”
Harold passed away in 1970 and Maude and Jean moved from their home on Blackmoorfoot Road to a house in Springwood Hall Gardens in 1996.
Maude cared for her daughter for another six years before the strain became too much.
Janet said: “Maude looked after Jean until she was 97. It was becoming impractical.
“It was a big decision to give up caring for Jean, it broke Maude’s heart.”
Janet added: “I’m not surprised that Maude has got to such an age. I think she has survived to look after her daughter.”
Maude moved into Bradley Court on Keldregate two years ago and has since developed dementia.
Janet said: “Jean comes to see her every week and she still recognises her. She knows who everyone is but she can’t speak very clearly any more.”
Bradley Court’s 53 tenants joined Maude for an early birthday party on Thursday.
Manager Paul Kern said: “We watched two videos of Calendar news pieces about Maude.
“The first, which was made when she was 90, was about her work for Mencap. The second piece, when she was 95, featured her having a makeover.
“A few of the tenants spoke about Maude, including May Chapman who used to organise fundraising events for Mencap.”
Do you know anyone in Huddersfield older than Maude? Contact our newsdesk on 01484 437712 or email email@example.com
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One thousand people died after Tsarist troops fired on workers marching for better pay and conditions in St Petersburg
Austrian singer Maria von Trapp – who inspired the Sound of Music film – was born in Vienna
The largest diamond ever found was discovered in South Africa. The Cullinan Diamond weighs more than 600 grammes and is currently worth around £200m.