MARTHA YATES, one of the oldest surviving Aycliffe Angels, has died before her 101st birthday.

Born Martha Bowman, in Haswell, County Durham, in August 1901, she had five brothers and four sisters and moved to Trimdon when a girl. Aged about 18 she worked at the Harrogate Hotel and also at a boys school.

She met her husband, Dick, at a dance in Trimdon where he was MC. She and Dick were married in 1924.

The couple, who had three children, moved to Fishburn in 1933. Dick worked at Fishburn Colliery and Martha later worked as one of the Aycliffe Angels, at the munitions factory where she was an overseer.

However, she was unaware of a campaign, led by The Northern Echo, to gain recognition for the munitions workers and missed a service to mark the event.

Don Morrison, married to Martha's granddaughter, Jean, said: "I was quite disappointed when Martha was not recognised for her service as an Aycliffe Angel when a reunion was held in 1998, to celebrate their service to the country during the Second World War."

After her time at Aycliffe, she worked at The Beehive pub, in Fishburn, and later as a barmaid and cleaner at Fishburn Workingmens club.

In later years, Martha lived at Glebe House Residential Home, in Fishburn, where she was the oldest resident.

Her funeral service is at Fishburn Methodist Church tomorrow, at 10.30am.