WHEN Annie Schofield suffered a serious brain haemorrhage in 1969, the odds on her living until the ripe old age of 100 seemed pretty long.

But the former Uppermill schoolteacher becomes a centenarian on July 23 and attributes her miraculous recovery to the clean Saddleworth air and her amazing family - three daughters, six grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

Significantly, it was 100 years ago as the globe was gripped by the Spanish flu pandemic which claimed 50 million lives, that Annie was born the only child to her mother and father at home in Diggle.

Back then, mum was weaver and dad worked maintaining the roads. The only car in the village was owned by factory owner Mr Hollingworth, and the only other vehicles locally were the horse-drawn Co-op coal cart and milk float.

The family moved to Dobcross when she was 13 and Annie went to Hulme Grammar School for girls before progressing to Bingley College in West Yorkshire where she completed her teacher training.

She taught at St Barnadby's School in Openshaw and later at St Anne's School in Royton during the Second World War before marrying husband Jack, who was to become joiner and undertaker in Uppermill.

"I remember the children and teachers having to carry gas masks," said Annie from her Uppermill home. "At Openshaw, we spent a lot of time under the stairs sheltering during air raids as the school was near a munitions factory and was being targeted by German bombers."

Annie later went on to teach maths and English at Uppermill Secondary School until the fateful day when she suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage - a life-threatening type of stroke caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain.

She spent two weeks in hospital and slowly made a full recovery, but she never went back to teaching.

That was shortly before her eldest daughter Jan Capper, now 74, who lives in Delph, got married.

Daughter number two, Kate Hewitt, 70, lives in Edinburgh, and her third daughter Alison Martin, 68, now lives in Delph.

Annie was married to Jack for 62 years. He died 16 years ago at the age of 89.

She misses her many friends who have passed away while she has soldiered on, but added: "I have made lots of new friends in the village.

"We like to go for nice walks round Uppermill Cricket Club's ground."

Annie was a founder member of the Uppermill Women's Crown Green Bowling Club - still going today - and in her spare time produced Gilbert and Sullivan shows and pantomimes at school.

Her only regret now is that, because of the coronavirus pandemic, she will not be able celebrate her milestone with her entire family.

But she is a user of email and the internet with a laptop, two tablets, kindle and a smart phone.

"I may even resort to Zoom on my big day," said Annie.