Former Kinallen woman marks 100th birthday at Lisburn school

Mrs Jess celebrates her 100th birthday at Seymour Hill Primary School.
Mrs Jess celebrates her 100th birthday at Seymour Hill Primary School.

A former Kinallen woman, Mrs Jess, recently celebrated her 100th birthday at Seymour Hill Primary School, where she worked for many years as a cleaner and cartaker.

Having been born in Kinallen, Mrs Jess spent the war years working in a factory outside Dromore before moving to Seymour Hill in Lisburn.

P7 children from Seymour Hill met with Mrs Jess before her birthday and found out more about her life, before sharing the story with the rest of the school.

School Principal Mr Stephen Nimmons explained: “During World War Two Mrs Jess worked at a hem stitching factory near Dromore, where she worked on the machines and made fancy patterns around pillow cases and table cloths.

“Every day she would have to cycle four miles to work and in the evenings four miles back home – rain, hail or snow. When the war was at its height, the factory started making uniforms for the soldiers. From her house in Kinallen, she could see the lights of Belfast light up the sky when the German bombers came.

“Just after the war, in 1950, Mrs Jess married and went on to have three daughters. She has been a widow for 54 years and now has three children, six grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

“Mrs Jess came to live in Seymour Hill on February 15, 1958 when there were no schools, shops nor churches built on the estate at the time. Seymour Hill Primary School was built by September 1959 when the first pupils started the school.

“She started working in the school when it opened in 1959 and she worked in the school for over 17 years until her retirement. She worked as a cleaner for most of those years, as well as being a lunchtime supervisor and for a short time, she was also the school caretaker.

“The children, staff and PTA of Seymour Hill PS wish to thank Mrs Jess for taking time to talk with them and visit the school on such a special occasion.”