MARY Clark, who celebrated her 100th birthday this week, was bringing up her two daughters when she was sent to work at the Aycliffe munitions factory during the Second World War.

She grew up in Wingate and moved to Fishburn after getting married to Jack.

During the First World War she remembers going to see the wreckage of a German Zeppelin airship which had been shot down near her home on a mission to drop bombs on Hartlepool.

After leaving school at 14 she cared for her invalid mother and later worked as a nurse in Leeds.

Doctors at Hartlepool saved her life at 21 when she had an abscess on her appendix and had to make the painful journey to hospital by horse ambulance from the village pit.

She met her future husband Jack at a dance in Fishburn and they later had two daughters Vera and Norah, who are both now in their 70s.

Jack was a prominent local politician who was elected chairman of Durham County Council in 1971. He was awarded the OBE.

After he died, Mary moved into the bungalow where she lives today, with the support of her daughters.

For the past 26 years she has spent two days a week at Spennymoor Day Centre where staff and friends threw a party to mark her birthday.

Fishburn Band gave her an early surprise by stopping off at her home to play Happy Birthday on their way to Durham Miners Gala last month.