Letter from Queen was ‘an honour’ says Nina

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A woman who helped bring home a forgotten First World War memorial has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Nina Swallow celebrated her centenary this month surrounded by her family at her South Shore home.

The centenarian came to local fame in 2008 when The Gazette asked for help in identifying a brass First World War plaque that had been found on a scrapheap in Kirkby Lonsdale.

Nina instantly recognised the photograph of the memorial and provided photos to confirm it once hung proudly in Rawcliffe Street Church in South Shore.

The plaque now has pride of place in Highfield Church.

Great-grandmother-of-four Nina said: “My son threw me a big party and it was very, very fun to have the family around. It’s very good to have a letter from the Queen. It’s like an honour.”

Nina was born during the First World War in 1917 in Manchester. She moved to Blackpool with her parents shortly after her birth and has lived in South Shore ever since.

During the Second World War, she worked as an incendiary spotter, and once spotted a device that landed just one street away from her Bond Street home.

A dedicated Christian, she met her husband Jim through the Methodist church. They married in 1942 and had two children, Keith and David.

Jim died in 1999.

Nina’s daughter-in-law Christine Swallow said: “She’s a lovely person.

“She’s a very big member of Highfield Church. All her life she’s been religious; she has always been a big part of the church.

“She’s been very active until just recently . She’s been slowed down just this month or two because she had a hip replacement. She’s getting more active.

“She used to go swimming into her 80s.”

Her son Keith said: “My brother came over from Austrwalia for the party and so did a couple of other friends who were travelling around the world.

“She’s very sociable. She’s very independent and still lives on her own.”

Nina said: “I’m perfectly happy. I’ve still got friends coming in and out as well as my son, and I’m happy to potter about and get back to normal.”