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Norah Wood, centenarian cook who never lost her sense of humour

She lived in Camden her whole life

08 June, 2020 — By Helen Chapman

Norah Wood with her sons

SHE lost her eyesight towards the end of her life but Norah Ward, who has died age 100, will be remembered for never losing her sense of humour.

“Like many others, I am very proud of my mum,” said her son Jeff Ward. “I think her hearing was selective at times and I love the way she would comment on the colour of someone’s top as if she could still see it.”

She was born in Somers Town and after leaving school age 14 worked in a factory in the area making Liquorice Allsorts sweets.

During the war she worked in a factory making munitions.

Norah lived her whole life within a five-mile radius of Somers Town – Prince of Wales Road, Grafton Road and Gordon House Road.

She worked as a cook for most of her life, doing stints at the BBC canteen and, before retiring at age 72, to a care home in Muswell Hill.

Jeff and Ron remember her home-cooked Lancashire hot pot and braised liver and bacon dinners as children growing up.

Norah married husband Frank Ward in 1943 at St Silas’ Church. Together they had five children before Frank died 10 years after their marriage.

“I can honestly turn around and say for all my time she was never unemployed and always working to bring up five kids on her own,” said her son Ron.

“She brought up her kids the best way she could.”

Described as “staunchly independent” by her loved ones, Norah moved to Cressfield Close after retirement. She spent most of her time with her daughter Ann who died in her 50s after falling ill with Alzheimer’s.

Norah outlived her siblings Fred, Arthur, Violet, Nell and Rose but her biggest heartbreak of all was outliving her children Derek, Ann and Bryan.

Jeff said: “While heartbroken at her loss, her ability to carry on highlighted to me what a strong woman she was.”

Norah lived in Wellesley Road Care Home towards the end of her life after losing her eyesight and developing dementia.

Norah died on May 1 from heart failure.

She leaves behind sons Ron and Jeff, 13 grandchildren and great grandchildren.


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