A woman who worked as a firefighter in Brighton during the Second World War celebrated her 100th birthday with a visit from firefighters serving near her home today.
Gladys Jones was based at Preston Circus, in Brighton, from 1941, when she was 19 years old, until 1944, becoming a Leading Senior Firewoman.
Her daughters contacted firefighters from Black Watch at Worthing Fire Station – and they turned out to help her celebrate her milestone birthday at The Shelley retirement home, in Shelley Road, Worthing.
Crew Manager Michael Coudray, from Worthing Fire Station, said: “It was an absolute honour to meet Gladys on such a special day.
“Here at Black Watch we all felt so privileged to meet someone who paved the way for us modern-day firefighters.
“Gladys’s rank as a Leading Firewoman equivalates to the rank that I currently hold so I felt particularly connected to her role within the fire service.
“It was a pleasure to hear her stories of serving at such a perilous time. She really is a hero.”
The Shelley’s manager Andy Bown said: “We were delighted when Black Watch agreed to come to The Shelley and offer Gladys their best wishes on her big day.
“They all spoke for ages, exchanging stories from their careers and comparing notes on how things have changed over the past eight decades.”
Chief Fire Officer Sabrina Cohen-Hatton said: “Being a firefighter stereotypically has connotations with being a man’s job.
“Gladys has been proving those stereotypes wrong for over 80 years by helping the residents of Sussex during the very darkest of times.
“No matter how many years go by, Gladys will always be part of our fire family and I am so happy that Worthing Black Watch were able to help make her birthday a day to remember.”