Death of OAP who had 81 great-grandkids brings close-knit Grove Hill community out to say farewell

Ivy Longstaff - believed to be Grove Hill's oldest resident - has died at 97
-Credit: (Image: UGC)

A tight-knit community has turned out to say a fond farewell to one of its oldest residents who has died aged 97.

Grove Hill pensioner, Ivy Longstaff - who leaves behind a huge family, which includes four sets of twins - was well-known in the Teesside community. Granddaughter, Dawn Johnson, said Ivy was a great character and had lived all her life in Grove Hill, where she raised her five sons and five daughters.

The pensioner was also proud grandmother to 37 grandchildren, 81 great-grandchildren and lots of great, great-grandchildren. She had one set of twins, two sets of twin grandchildren and a great-grandchild is currently expecting twins.

Dawn said Ivy, who lived the majority of her life in Ashfield Avenue, was left to raise her children alone when her husband, Harry, died at the age of 45 after a fall down some pub stairs. She said: "He fell down a flight of stairs in the pub and never regained consciousness. My nan was left to bring up the children and she never remarried."

Ivy - with just a few of her family  members - enjoying a day out
Ivy - with just a few of her family members - enjoying a day out -Credit:UGC

Dawn said her grandmother remained active until the last few weeks of her life and liked to be out and about. She said: "She was old school. She used to have us all around the house when we were younger, cooking for us. With so many of us it would sometimes take up to eight goes before we got the right name, but she would get there in the end.

"Grove Hill is a very close-knIt community and we think she was one of the oldest residents in it when she died." Dawn said there was an enormous turnout for Ivy's funeral service which was held at St Hilda's Chapel at Teesside Crematorium.

Ivy's daughter, Pam Baldam, 65, said her mum had a hard life, especially after the death of her husband, who was an ex-serviceman and did a lot for The Green Howards Association. As well as losing her husband, Ivy also lost one of her daughters, Dolly, to cancer at the age of 42.

Pam said her dad was in The Shipmate Pub, in Middlesbrough, when he tripped down a set of three stairs. She said it was the beginning of the evening and he wasn't drunk, he just tripped and sadly died from his injuries.

She said: "Everybody in Grove Hill knew our mam. She was the type who called a spade a spade. If you did anything wrong she would tell you."

Ivy leaves behind Geoff, 79, who has three children, Margaret, 75, who has one child, Jean, 73, who has four children, Evan, 71, who has four children, the late Dolly, who has five children, Pam, who has three children, Betty, 63, who has two children, Thomas, 60, who has five children and 58-year-old twins, John, who has four children, and Brian, who has six children.

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