Gladys Anderson

Gladys Anderson, who lived a long and remarkable life, has died in Cardiff at the age of 103 (July 2008)

Gladys Anderson and her wedding day with Harry


Always a dedicated and loving family woman, Gladys Mary Anderson known as May - was born on May 8th 1905, in Treboeth, Swansea, the fourth child in a large Welsh-speaking family.

May left school at the age of 14 as she was needed to help at home. Even at this early stage in her life she was able to sacrifice her own interests to help others.

In her late teens May went to work the kitchens of Clyne Castle near Swansea Bay which was then owned by Admiral Heneage Vivian.

May always enjoyed relating tales of her experiences of life in the castle.

In 1927 - when May was 22 – she married a widower, Harry, from Ireland who was 10 years older. They settled in Manselton where they brought up his two children Vincent and Teresa, and their own son, also called Harry, who was born 1928. The married couple also had daughter Jean soon after.

Vincent joined the Merchant Navy and sadly died during the war when ship sank. May was left heartbroken when her husband died suddenly of a heart attack in 1957 while on his way home from work at the Swansea Docks.

After all the children married and left home, May devoted her time to caring for elderly ladies in their own homes. During this time May lived in Swansea, Neath and Weymouth among other places. May loved car­rying out this work and accepted no payment - she said she was "doing something for the Lord".

May's Christian faith was the main focus in her life. She converted at 18 when a Devon­shire evangelist Arthur Chilcott held tent meetings in Treboeth. May attended church services twice on Sundays in various gospel halls right up until the end of her life.  

She also loved cleaning and polishing and sang hymns buoyantly as s she worked. May also had a passion for the Welsh language and often tried to teach phrases to non-Welsh speakers.

In 1981, May moved from Wey­mouth to Cardiff to live with her daughter Jean and family. She had seven grandchildren, 10 great-grand-children and two great-great-grand-children and was always careful to remember their birthdays.

May enjoyed wonderful health: she had no medication, hearing aids or glasses. The only thing May had from the NHS was dentures in 1948 - and she kept the same pair for the rest of her life. May did not smoke or drink but meals had to be regular and bedtimes strictly adhered to.

After coming to Cardiff she enjoyed car outings and many family hol­idays, providing that they were in Britain. She was eventually per­suaded to cross the Channel and acquired a passport at the age of 96. She then had several holidays in Belgium, Holland, Germany and France, where she even went on a ride at Disneyland Paris aged 10 1.

May was active until the last six weeks of her life but she gradually slowed down and was bed-ridden for the last five days. She was cared for at Jean's house in her last days, and never went to hospital in her whole life.

The funeral took place at May's own Treboeth Gospel Hall and the burial at Morriston Cemetery in Swansea