Betty Mackereth - secretary for Philip Larkin - celebrates 100th birthday with letter from the King

Betty Mackereth celebrates 100th birthday at Red Stacks Residential Home in Hessle
-Credit: (Image: Donna Clifford)

A Hull woman who has lived an extraordinary life celebrated an impressive milestone birthday when she turned 100 years old this week.

Betty Mackereth was born in the city in 1924 and later went to Newland High School. On Thursday, June 27, she celebrated her centenary with cake and a letter from the King at Red Stacks Residential Home, in Hessle.

According to material from the University Of Hull Archives at Hull History Centre, Betty was sent to a government training facility in Leeds during the Second World War where she was a quality-control inspector and learned how to weld.


She returned to Hull for a job in the Transport Department in 1945 and then obtained the role of Philip Larkin's secretary at the Brynmor Jones Library, at the University of Hull, on in May 1957, remaining as his secretary until she retired in 1984.

Larkin passed away the following year, having suffered from oesophageal cancer. They had been close friends and had exchanged many letters over the decades.

Describing Betty, deputy care manager Julie English said: "She has got a good sense of humour and she's a very intelligent lady. She was the PA for Larkin and she was also the head of the library at Hull University.

"She's had a lot of hobbies in her lifetime - she used to like playing bridge, golf, and badminton. She was a member of the golf club in Beverley Westwood and was captain of the ladies' team."

Betty had plenty of visitors to join her for her birthday and ate lots of cake and sweets. Betty's secret to a long life is "enjoying your food", said Julie.