A CIRENCESTER woman is celebrating her 100th birthday today.
Pam McGrath still lives independently in the town and is a well known local figure, having been involved in many community activities over the years.
She was born in Brewery House, Stratton St Margaret, a member of the Arkell family, and had a wonderful childhood growing up in Highworth with her five brothers and sisters.
When she was still a teenager the Second World War broke out, and she joined up, learning to drive trucks and ambulances (alongside the Queen!).
Towards the end of the war she transferred into the Red Cross, and was working in the Netherlands when Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was discovered. She became one of the first people to go into the camp, and stayed there for some time to help. During that time she met her future husband, Leighton, who was in the RAF.
In 1951 they moved to Cirencester, and had their two daughters Sarah and Bridget.
After raising her children Pam trained as a social worker, and worked in the Princess Margaret Hospital in Swindon until she retired. She then undertook voluntary work, running Meals on Wheels in Cirencester, helping to found U3A and working with other community projects.
She also spent time with her growing family of grandchildren and now great-grandchildren. Pam attributes her longevity to being helpful and interested in people, (and don’t forget a whiskey and ginger every evening too!).