Centenarian from Chippenham helped run the family farm for decades (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Centenarian from Chippenham helped run the family farm for decades
6:00pm Sunday 28th October 2012 in News
Chippenham great-grandmother Irene Powney puts her longevity down to hard work.
Mrs Powney, who celebrated her 100th birthday last Friday, remembers washing her clothes by hand and making do without electricity on the farm on which she and her late husband lived.
Mrs Powney, nee Bevan, was born in Ystrad, Rhondda in Wales. She left school at 14 but went into training for two years in service.
There were no jobs for her in Wales so, aged 16, she travelled to Chippenham Railway Station and on to Whetton House, two miles from Calne, where she had a job as a maid.
Mrs Powney admitted she was a “bit frightened” to be leaving Wales.
She recalled: “My friend wanted me to go to London with her and train to be a nurse, but I liked the country so I went to Wiltshire. ”
Mrs Powney met Harold Powney, a farmer at Netherstreet, Bromham, on one of her days off in Calne and they courted for two years until they married on December 8, 1934, in Crickhowell, Wales.
They started their married life running the family farm with Harold’s brother, William, but moved to Carpenters Farm, a dairy farm, in the hamlet of Avon, near East Tytherton, in 1938 and farmed there until they retired in 1975.
The family did not have electricity until 1956 and Mrs Powney did her washing in a boiler house by hand.
Mr and Mrs Powney both loved dancing and belonged to the Westinghouse Sequence Dancing Club.
When they retired they moved to Orchard Crescent, Chippenham, where Mrs Powney still lives, with her eldest son Keith, 76.
Mrs Powney and her husband delivered meals on wheels to housebound people in Chippenham for about five years into their 70s.
They both enjoyed playing bowls at Chippenham Park Bowls Club.
Mr Powney died in 2001, aged 91.They had six children – Keith, Alma (deceased), Gill, Ken, Alan and Shirley.
Mrs Powney, who is registered blind, has never smoked and enjoys the occasional drop of sweet sherry when she goes out for a meal.
Mrs Powney also has 13 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.