Former Seaham hairdresser celebrates 100th birthdayA woman who was born on the same day as Nelson Mandela has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Former hairdresser Mary Willans, who is originally from Seaham, celebrated the milestone with a family party at HC-One’s St Margaret’s Care Home in Crossgate, County Durham.

Born on July 18,1918 as Kathleen Tomlin, she was the daughter of successful builder William Tomlin and his wife Sara.

She had a shop in Marlborough Street, Seaham, which she ran with her sisters Lorna and Joan and also worked as a radio telephonist during the war.

Mrs Willians, who was married to policeman Harry for 42 years, has a son Ian, daughter Judith Brooke and five grandchildren, Andrew, Gavin, Gemma, Jennifer and Jonathan.

She met her husband in Seaham, where Mr Willans was on placement and they married in 1941.

As a result of his work in the police, the family moved all over the region, including to Felling, Houghton-le-Spring and Gilesgate Moor before retiring to Belmont.

She moved to St Margaret’s earlier this year. 

As a girl, she was a keen tennis planner and pianist and remained passionate about driving until she had to stop at the age of 90.