A Brent pensioner is honoured at tree planting

Norah Marshall has lived in Brent since 1940

One of Brent’s oldest residents was honoured with her own tree at a planting ceremony in Gladstone Park on Saturday.

Norah Marshall, who turns 90 on Valentine’s Day, moved into Temple Road, Cricklewood, in 1940 when she was pregnant with the first of her seven children, and has lived there ever since.

She was guest of honour at a ceremony to celebrate a �4,000 grant given to Brent Council to plant 30 plain trees in Gladstone Park as part of Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s LEAF London campaign.

Ms Marshall said: “I was overwhelmed by the whole thing. Most of all I’m very honoured to have been asked to plant a tree in the park that will be enjoyed by everyone for another 100 years.

“Everyone gave me a day to remember. I also got cards, flowers, chocolates, plants, book and a beautiful, delicious birthday cake. Ken Livingstone even signed my card.”

NorthWestTwo Residents’ Association volunteers helped plant the other 29 trees in Gladstone Park which has been a huge part of Norah’s life.

Most Read

She said: “We used to always take the kids up there to play on the swings and learn to swim. There was a putting green, tennis courts and there was a great cafe in the middle of the park.

“We would meet our friends at the cafe every Sunday and there was a wonderful string trio of elderly gentleman that would play there.

“Every time it was windy their sheet music would fly everywhere. But I tell you I have never in my life heard a more beautiful version of Lara’s Theme.”

Willesden has always been Ms Marshall’s home. She was grew up in Essex Road and has never travelled abroad or been on an aeroplane.

Marie Hancock, committee member of NorthWestTwo, said: “She is one of our oldest residents and she has always been most supportive of our residents’ association.

“For many years she used to nit baby clothes and leave them out on her garden wall. That way anyone who needed them could just take them without having to ask. She really is wonderful.”

Norah left school at 14 to help support her family after her father died from wounds he received during the First World War.

But she always kept a love of literature and, at the age of 64, she completed her A-level in English.

She added: “I always wanted to write a book. I haven’t yet but, who knows, there’s still time.”