Leeds World War Two ambulance driver and much loved great-grandmother celebrates her 100th birthday

A much-loved Leeds great grandmother who served the city as an ambulance driver during World War Two celebrates her 100th birthday today.

By Tony Gardner
Sunday, 31st May 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 31st May 2020, 5:18 pm
Margeret Marshall celebrated her 100th birthday today in the garden of her home in Roundhay,
Margeret Marshall celebrated her 100th birthday today in the garden of her home in Roundhay,

Margaret Marshall, a popular community champion in Roudhay for many decades, was "inundated" with flowers from family and friends on the day she received a message of congratulations from the Queen.

Mrs Marshall grew up in Roundhay on Talbot Road. She went to school in Leeds and following college worked briefly for the family business.

Married in the early 1940’s, during the war she joined her husband, Weir, a conscripted firefighter, in the Isle of Man.

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Margaret Marshall aged 18.

She subsequently drove ambulances in Leeds and Weir joined the Royal Navy as an officer on HMS Biter.

After the war they settled in Gledhow, Leeds, later moving to Roundhay, where she has lived for over 60 years.

Weir joined Central High School in Leeds as a senior maths teacher.

Throughout his teaching career he was actively involved with the former pupils association, the Old Centralians Football Club and the Yorkshire Old Boys League.

Margaret Marshall's grandchildren and great-grandchildren sent a special message to mark her 100th borthday.

Weir died in 2002 aged 91.

Active in the community, having been honorary transport manager for the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service over a number of years, Mrs Marshall, was also a volunteer for meals on wheels for the needy elderly.

She participated in the local branch of the Townwomen’s Guild and was for many years a regular performer and supporter of amateur dramatics.

She continues to enjoy travel, having recently visited family in Spain and the Philippines and holidayed in Malta.

Margaret Marshall and late husband Weir on their golden wedding anniversary.

Mrs Marshall had been hoping to mark the occasion with a big party surrounded by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchilden.

Sadly, the celebrations had to be much more low-key due to Covid-19 social distancing measures.

Son Andrew said: "We had a party booked for 80 people at Weetwood Hall hotel but had to cancel it.

"Unfortunately, the celebrations had to be limited to a visit from just a few close family and friends.

Weir Marshall served in the Royal Navy during World War Two.

"Some of her great-grandchildren came and waved at her from the end of the garden.

"She has been overwhelmed to see people and has been inundated with flowers."

Mr Marshall said his mother still continues to live an active and independent life.

Until until lockdown she still managed to make regular trips on her scooter to her local Co-op to buy cigarettes and red wine.

He added: "She has always been just so alive and alert and up for anything. She's amazing.

"She still enjoys a glass of red wine and one or two cigarettes a day.

Margaret Marshall still enjoys trips abroad.

"She still manages to go on holiday to Spain. Two years ago she went to a local health centre there and they couldn't believe her age."

Mrs Marshall has three sons, Weir, Andrew and Nicholas, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

She is one of six brothers, one of whom died in a motoring accident in his early twenties, and a sister, all of whom she has outlived.

Her father built and ran structural steel stockholders, Edward Bidgood and Co, in Black Bull Street, Leeds, and a number of other engineering and business enterprises.

Her brothers were active in Leeds in business and commerce over many years.

Len Bidgood was a Leeds City councillor and ran one of the family businesses,

Jack Bidgood was Conservative MP for Bury and Radcliffe (1955-1964) and brother Ronnie was a justice of the peace,

Keith and Derek looked after the family’s extensive commercial and engineering business interests in Leeds.

The Bidgood family were keen supporters of Roundhay Rugby Club.

Derek was captain over many years and Ronnie club president.