Legion club throws party to mark Joe Wright's 100th

Published on: 03 Jul 2015

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When Joe Wright turned 100 last month, fellow members of Keynsham’s Royal British Legion Club made sure the day didn’t pass without celebration.

Family and friends joined Joe at the club, where he has been a member for more than 50 years, to mark his birthday on June 12 with a party.

Joe was born in Oldbury, Birmingham, at the heart of the steel industry, in the same year his father was called up to fight in Greece in the First World War. Sadly, he was killed in the conflict when Joe was just two.

Just a year later, Joe and his elder sister Doris were orphaned when their mother died from poisoning as she worked as a shell filler at an ammunition factory.

He lived with his grandmother in Wales, then with an aunt in Birmingham before his sister died at the age of just 12.

At 15, Joe began working with the horses that pulled the barges on the canal in Oldbury and then with steeplejacks, learning to build and maintain chimneys.

A keen footballer in his spare time, a prospective career with West Bromwich Albion was cut short by serious injury. As war returned, Joe became a fireman.

His work took him all over the country and then to Keynsham in 1947, where he joined the maintenance team at Fry’s chocolate factory, before moving to Vitamelo in the town, where he worked for 25 years until retirement – only to begin work as a part-time gardener until he was 85.

Joe married twice, first to Annie Coll in 1937, and they had four children – Maureen, Patrick, Kathleen and William – before Annie died at the age of 28.

In Keynsham, he met Pansy Fisher and they married in 1950 and had two children, David and Andrea, and lived in Selworthy Close and then Sherwood Road.

Joe’s party was attended by a number of family members, including son David, daughters Andrea and Kathleen and granddaughters Kelly and Caitlin.

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