Centenarian Margaret Podmore from Lancashire farming and cheesemaking Kirkham family of Goosnargh celebrates milestone birthday

The “Goosnargh Girl” has celebrated her 100th birthday … and it was certainly a party to remember.

By Fiona Finch
Friday, 3rd June 2022, 12:30 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd June 2022, 1:40 pm
Margaret Podmore celebrating her 100th birthday at Ye Horns Inn, Goosnargh. Margaret is pictured holding a congratulations card from the Queen.
Margaret Podmore celebrating her 100th birthday at Ye Horns Inn, Goosnargh. Margaret is pictured holding a congratulations card from the Queen.

Five generations of family and many friends gathered for a special lunch party to mark Margaret Podmore’s centenary.

Niece Dorothy Halsall explained the label Goosnargh Girl came through her aunt’s life long association with the parish, near Preston.

She said: “We call her the Goosnargh Girl because she’s never left Goosnargh. She was born at New House Farm on Ford Lane in 1922, one of six. Later the family lived at West Lea Farm. She’s never moved out of the parish. She’s probably never moved more than four miles from where she lived.”Born into the well known farming and cheese making Kirkham family Margaret is a much loved aunt and great aunt and a friend to many.

Margaret pictured at the TT races on the Isle of Man in the 1950s

Dorothy recalled how her aunt attended nearby Hill Chapel school. Her four older brothers went to Goosnargh school, but it was deemed too far for Margaret and her younger sister to walk to.

She married Richard (Dick) Podmore at the age of 35 at Inglewhite Chapel and the couple moved to a smallholding, Brook House on nearby Horns Lane.

Dorothy said: "She use to go everywhere on a big black bike, (bicycle) to dances and everything. When she lived at the farm as the first girl she had to do all the indoor work. Making bread, sewing and the like. When she got married it must have been the longest courtship ever. I made a little speech at her birthday. There were four brothers and one sister and they all farmed. And apart from their sister they all farmed within a mile or two of each other. If anybody was poorly in the family or had a baby you would ring aunty and she would be off on her blke to look after them. She’s cared for people all her life.”

She continued: ”She’s been like my second mum. She was everybody’s second mum. She just cared for everybody. All the cousins used to go and stay on holiday with her. Everybody used to call for a brew. Every time you went to Brook House there was always someone having a cup of tea and a cake.”

Margaret Podmore née Kirkham pictured when at school

That caring has continued throughout Margaret’s life. Dorothy said: “She was still making Christmas cakes for everybody before Covid. At 98 she made 22 Christmas cakes – she used to give everyone one for Christmas.”

Aunty Margaret was also renowned for being fashionable and enjoying visits with husband Dick to the TT races in the Isle of Man. Dorothy said: “She had very high heel shoes and she just looked like a model. She would be off on an aeroplane to the Isle of Man to watch the TT races.”

Margaret has always joined in local activities including being a member of the Inglewhite Guild (now Friends of Inglewhite).

Dorothy added that the party, held at Ye Horns Inn, Goosnargh, which Margaret’s great nephew has had a key part in re-developing, had also been a thank you to Margaret’s many friends who visit regularly and said: “They’ve helped her to get to that milestone, keeping her interested.”

Margaret Podmore celebrating her silver wedding with husband Dick

*Margaret’s great nephew Graham continues the family cheese making tradition at Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese on Mill Lane, Goosnargh.

Margaret Podmore (née Kirkham) photographed in her late teens at a photo studio in Blackpool
Margaret Podmore née Kirkham pictured aged 23