Centenarian Mary who marked a series of firsts has died in Brackley

Mary Yates has died at the age of 101 NNL-180709-092949001
Mary Yates has died at the age of 101 NNL-180709-092949001

A trailblazer who was born during the First World War and marked a series of firsts during her long career has died at the age of 101.

Mary Yates passed away at her home at Juniper House Care Home in Brackley on August 18.

Born on January 19, 1917, Mary started secondary school in 1928, the year women got the vote.

In 1937, she was one of the few women of her generation to go to university.

As a student in Southampton she volunteered to help receive orphans from Guernica, who were victims of the Spanish Civil War.

The Basque town of Guernica was bombed by the Nazis in April 1937.

She was one of the first generation of teachers who were not required to resign when they got married, and she combined a full-time teaching career with bringing up three children.

For 11 years she was headteacher at Hillesden Primary School, ending with a thirteen-year spell at Towcester Grammar School, which became Sponne School.

Moving to Brackley in 1963 with her family, she and her husband, Jack, who was mayor of the town twice, started the two town twinnings with Montabaur in Germany and with Les Pavillons sous Bois in France, and the Brackley European Association.

After she retired, she opened the Brackley Health Food Shop in Halls Lane, which ran for eight years, and then founded the Brackley 50+ Club, which is still going after nearly 37 years.

She will be missed by three daughters, Sarah, Elizabeth and Kate, their husbands, four granddaughters and four great-grandchildren.