A STALWART of the Stocksfield community will celebrate her hundredth birthday in June.

Inga Shucksmith will celebrate her birthday on Friday, June 9. A former headteacher, and member of the Stocksfield Methodist Church community, Inga has lived in the village for the past 18 years.

Born in Shetland to a Welsh-speaking family, Inga became a geography teacher.

Her father was a Methodist minister from North Wales who was posted to the far north of Shetland with his new wife, and soon they became a family.

Inga was born at home, in the manse attached to the chapel, and remembers being pushed in a pram along the seashore to visit the nearby farm. There was no road and a ship called once a week, weather permitting, with provisions.

Hexham Courant: Inga's wedding in 1949Inga's wedding in 1949 (Image: Supplied)

When she was two years old, her father was posted back to Wales, and her childhood was punctuated by moving to new places and schools every three or four years, each time making new friends, until she left for university.

She remembers her time at Nottingham University fondly, staying in touch with university friends throughout her life.

It was there she met her husband, David, who served in the forces but returned to marry Inga after the war. They left Nottingham to live and work in London. Inga helped establish a new girls' grammar school in Middlesex and she was promoted to deputy head, and later acting head, while also being a loving mother to Mark.

She retired 40 years ago, but still receives letters from former pupils telling her how grateful they are for her formative influence on their lives, and she is thrilled to hear of their achievements.

After more than 20 years of retirement in Lincolnshire, she moved to Northumberland to live with her son and daughter-in-law after David’s death.

Inga threw herself into the lives and activities of the Stocksfield community, contributing to the activities of the Methodist congregation and chairing a women’s fellowship group.

Every day Inga would be out and about and, now the frailty of old age restricts her mobility, she continues to be active in the community over the telephone. Her mind is still sharp, and she continues to make the world a better place and help others while enjoying some well-deserved rest looking across the garden.