BOLTON'S oldest firewoman was visited by the fire service which she served during the Second World War to ring in her 100th birthday.

Edith Thorpe was born in 1919 and lived off Chorley Old Road as the eldest of seven children.

Mrs Thorpe left school at the tender age of 14 to help her family with their financial struggles.

But when the Second World War broke out, she became one of the first to volunteer for Bolton Fire Service, working on the switchboard at the fire station in Marsden Road.

During blackouts, the young woman often had to walk long distances in the dark to get to her shift, but Mrs Thorpe loved the job so much that she continued. The volunteer even met her husband, Harry, through the fire service as he was an officer at the time. The couple went on to have two daughters together.

On Saturday, Mrs Thorpe celebrated her 100th birthday and fire crews from Bolton, complete with a fire engine, paid her a visit on the special occasion.

Mrs Thorpe was overjoyed to see, what she still calls, her "fire service family" and spent the day looking back on her days as a volunteer, even donning her fire hat from years ago.

Mrs Thorpe's daughter Christine said: "She is still being supported by her fire service family and when unhappy she still threatens to tell the firebrigade because they will "sort it out for her.

"The fire service sent a crew and engine to her party with flowers and a card. How wonderful of them and what a wonderful celebration for Edith — Bolton’s oldest firewoman.”

Bolton North watch manager Andrew Kopicki said: “It was our pleasure to meet Edith and her family to share this special occasion with them.

"It was a humbling experience because while modern firefighters are exposed to danger responding to emergency calls today, we do so with improved technology in terms of the vehicles we travel in, the safety regulations of the buildings we enter and our personal protective equipment.

"Firefighters who served during the war responded with little or no protective equipment. Not only was this an immense challenge in itself but would often be done during the blackout with the ever present threat of bombs falling from the sky. All this was done for the love of the community they served with no financial reward. At 100 years old she is incredibly happy and smiley and is an example to us all.”