Isle of Wight woman Peggy Crickmay celebrates her 106th birthday. Picture by Robin Crossley.
"I NEVER realised that being so old would be so much fun."
That was Peggy Crickmay’s reaction to her surprise 106th birthday treat when she was the VIP (Very Important Passenger) on the 2.51pm departing Havenstreet Station.
Peggy, who lives at The Elms Nursing Home in Bembridge, had no less than three birthday celebrations this week.
She’s wanted to take a trip on the Bembridge RNLI lifeboat, but as a compromise she had lunch at the lifeboat station.
She enjoyed lunch with friends at the Village Inn too. But the high point was being taken back to the age of steam, and her youth.
Peggy travelled First Class, courtesy of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, and enjoyed a cream tea at its Calbourne Room.
"It was lovely to make Peggy’s day really special," said the railway’s Liz King.
Peggy travelled in an Edwardian carriage hauled by a 1953 train, which would have first been on track when she was 61.
"I remember travelling on steam trains as a young girl. This was the most marvellous day — I never realised being so old would be so much fun," said Peggy after her Tuesday trip.
"They gave me a wonderful birthday — it couldn’t have been any better."
The birthday treats for the Elms’ oldest resident were arranged by administrator Glenda Reed, who said: "Peggy really takes life in her stride — she is such a marvellous example.
"Her sight isn’t that good, but she thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere — the smell and the sounds of the railway."
Peggy’s daughter, Nicola, and Elms manager Jan Loughlan, accompanied Peggy on the train.
Peggy returned to the Isle of Wight 15 years ago. She spent her young life at Eddington Manor, St Helens, and during her time on the mainland was matron of of the prestigious Wellington College in Berkshire.