EVEN in her 107th year, Maud Smith never lost her sense of humour, her love for life and her immaculate ladylike style.
This week her nieces Rosina Aldred, Cynthia Hudson and June Bend paid tribute to their Aunty Maud, who died on 21st November aged 106.
Maud was born in 1906 at the Sherwood Rangers pub in Carlton to Frank and Laura Beeston. They moved to Blyth when Maud was six and she had fond memories of her childhood there.
The Beeston family had five generations of basket makers who worked in the village.
“Aunty Maud would tell us about when she would get picked up by her friend Mary MacDonald, the daughter of Lord and Lady Barnby, in a pony and trap,” said Rosina.
“The MacDonalds lived in a private house which is now Blyth Country House Care Home where Aunty Maud spent her last five years.”
“When she arrived there in 2007 she said ‘Oh I’m home’. She was very happy there and all the staff respected her and treated her well.”
Maud, who lived through two world wars, could remember seeing the first airship coming over Blyth, and even news breaking of the Titanic disaster.
At the age of 14 she moved to Scotland to be a nanny to a doctor’s daughter. Then she worked as a fever nurse at Blaby Hospital near Leicester.
It was while she was down there that she met her first husband George, a butcher. They were married for 40 years but never had any children.
When George passed away, Maud married again in 1968, this time to Claude, a builder.
Cynthia said: “Aunty Maud had two very good husbands. She never wanted for anything.”
“She didn’t work after she married and spent her time entertaining, seeing friends, and travelling.”
She had travelled all over the world, to America, Canada, Italy, Majorca to name but a few. But she loved nothing more than going to the Lake District.
June said: “She was a woman of impeccable grace and manners. Always dressed well, and dressed herself right up until her final day with us.”
“She kept her handbag at her side.”
“We have learned a lot from Aunty Maud about how to conduct ourselves. She would tell us to sit up straight and treat people with respect.”
Cynthia added: “But she also had a wicked sense of humour and we had some wonderful jokes with her.”
Rosina said: “She was a real one off. We don’t know what to do with ourselves now she is gone. We miss her terribly.”
Said June: “It was an honour and a privilege to have looked after her for the last few years.”
Maud’s death certificate said she died of old age. She had never been ill or needed medication.
A funeral was held at Blyth church before the final farewells at Sherwood Forest Crematorium, Ollerton.