Leeds great-great grandma on turning 100: 'look forward, don't look back'

A Great-great grandma from Leeds who is celebrating her 100th birthday reckons a positive attitude has helped her reach the milestone.

By Mark Lavery
Thursday, 1st July 2021, 4:45 am
Updated Thursday, 1st July 2021, 9:24 am
Centenarian Constance Stead holding a photo of her and late husband Wilfred on their wedding day on September 27 1941.
Centenarian Constance Stead holding a photo of her and late husband Wilfred on their wedding day on September 27 1941.

Retired shop assistant Constance Stead, who still lives independently in Killingbeck with family close by, said: "I think you have got to look forward, don't look back.

"Always keep going and don't feel miserable. Keep yourself going, that's what I do.

"I take a cod liver oil capsule every morning and I swear by those, I think they have helped me a lot."

Constance Stead pictured as a young woman.

Constance Smailes was born at home on July 1 1921 in a house on now demolished Temple View in east Leeds - around where the Leeds Irish Centre off York Road now stands.

Her parents Harry and Elizabeth Smailes ran fish and chip shops and the family moved house many times.

Constance went to Gipton School on Harehills Road when the family lived on Ashley Road; Blenheim Primary School in Woodhouse when they lived on Blackman Lane and St Lukes C of E Primary School when the family moved to Cemetery Road, Beeston.

She went to Cross Flatts School when they lived on Brompton Mount and Victoria School when her parents bought Glensdale fish and chip shop in East End Park.

Constance left school aged 14 and started work as a shop assistant at Mabaines on Lands Lane in Leeds city centre when she was 17.

Her future husband Wilfred Stead worked as a conductor on the buses and she met him on the bus to work one morning.

Wilfred joined the army in 1939 aged 21 and served until the end of the Second World War.

He was on leave when the couple got married at St Andrew's Church on Roundhay Road on September 27 1941.

They had two children, Michael, 79, and his younger brother Philip, who suffered from muscular dystrophy and died aged 13.

Wilfred died aged 60 in April 1981.

Michael, who lives near his mum, said: "She is pretty lively for her age. She still does her own baking and cooks her own meals and does her own housework.

"She does her own shopping and is pretty independent."

Constance worked as a shop assistant at Grandways on Chapeltown Road and then Safeway on Roundhay Road until she retired aged in her 70s.

She has four grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.