Former soprano celebrates 100th birthday

Bury Times: Alice Whewell Alice Whewell

A FORMER well-known soprano singer and star of numerous am-dram shows took centre stage on Monday when she celebrated her 100th birthday.

For many years, Mrs Alice Whewell held audiences spellbound with her singing.

She was a stalwart of the amateur dramatic society at St Anne’s Church, Tottington, for many years and also sang with the Bury Military Band at local parks and at Bolton Town Hall.

Her recognition could have spread nationally, but she turned down an audition for the BBC in her teenage years.

Alice, who lives in Horne Street, Bury, was born and raised in Hawkshaw and educated in Tottington. Later, she married husband John and they had one son, Peter. John died 20 years ago. Alice also has three granddaughters and six great-grandchildren.

Throughout her life, she worked as a weaver, firstly at Rigg’s in Hawkshaw and later at Radcliffe Silkworks from where she retired.

She maintained her singing and am-dram commitments up to the age of 70 and has been a worshipper at St Anne’s Church in Tottington and at Bury Unitarian Church.

Family and friends visited Alice at her home on Monday to mark her 100th birthday. She received flowers as well as numerous cards and greetings, including one from the Queen.

Alice’s son, Peter, said: “My mum is fiercely independent and is very agile for her age. We visit every morning and evening but mum washes and dresses herself and gets meals on wheels. Otherwise, she is quite independent and manages on her own. She’s in good health, doesn’t take any tablets and listens to Radio Four regularly as well as watching film musicals.”

Twenty years ago, she chronicled her life story in a book entitled “Singing Through Life,” which was stocked by Bury Library.

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