IT was celebration time at Redditch Forge Mill Needle Museum when it was the scene for the 100th birthday party of Elsie Anna Burton, known as Nana Anna.
Elsie moved to Redditch with her husband when they retired to live by her daughters, and one of them, Sharon, said: “She was never more happy than when she came to Redditch in a town so very full of trees and surrounded by beautiful countryside.”
And the needle museum was the ideal location for the party as Elsie was a key participant in the Redditch Recorded Through Art Group (RRTAG), embroidering some important features on their wall hanging ‘Redditch Remembered in Thread’ which showcases the last 100 years of development in the town.
One of the interesting discoveries about Redditch found by RRTAG was the kingfisher bird replacing the Swift on top of the Redditch crest.
This has been symbolised on the wall hanging by the kingfisher that Elsie embroidered and the tiny swift flying off in the background embroidered by her young protege and great granddaughter and namesake, Elsie May, aged eight, resulting in two Elsies embroidering the old and new on the work.
“Mum has made many friends since moving to Redditch, especially from the creative community,” said Sharon.
“Her advice for living a long and happy life is to feed your enquiring mind. She’s always looked to learn something new. When she retired she immediately enrolled on five courses so she had something to be up and going to each morning.
“She advises: ‘Just live day to day, being the best you can be’.”
Elsie had six children, has 13 grandchildren and, so far, 17 great grandchildren and one great, great grandchild.
“Needless to say a life that long and a family that large unavoidably has sadness stitched in it, but that has been accepted and absorbed, and mum has always been a forward looking person and loves new gadgets,” said Sharon.
“She bought the first Biro when it came out for almost a week’s wages! She’s seen many changes in her lifetime.”