Boxing Day bash for former Scarborough mayoress Dorothy as she celebrates 100th birthday

A former mayoress of Scarborough will celebrate her 100th birthday on Boxing Day.

By George Buksmann
Tuesday, 22nd December 2020, 4:24 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd December 2020, 4:28 pm

Dorothy Woodroffe moved to Scarborough from Birmingham in 1948 with her late husband William, known as Bill.

Dorothy met Bill on a “lovely summer’s evening” walking home from her Guides group when she was 14.

“I saw this lad swinging on a gate of his home, with an ice cream cornet, and I thought ‘well he looks nice, I’ll go and talk to him’,” she said.

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Dorothy Woodroffe celebrating a previous Christmas.

“So I went up to the gate and started chatting, and soon after romance bloomed.”

Bill and Dorothy married in 1946 after Bill returned from the Second World War; he served in France, Germany and Belgium with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.

Wanting to start afresh, and determined to be their own boss, the couple bought the then St Peter’s Hotel on South Cliff, renaming it The Derwent. “It was very hard work,” Dorothy said.

Bill joined the council in 1965 and represented the Weaponness ward for 38 years. The pair were deputy mayor and mayoress in 1978/79 and the following year took over the chains as mayor and mayoress.

Dorothy said: “We had a wonderful time doing our duties. You had funny incidents all the time, for instance we were at a church charity event and a woman came up to Bill with a toddler in her arms and said ‘excuse me Mr Mayor, but can my child play with your chain?’; you get all sorts of funny things happen to you, and lovely things as well.

“You mix with all sorts of people, some are nice to you, some are offhand, but you have to take it all in as a matter of course.”

The couple had one son, Richard, who provided them with two grandchildren, Oliver and Eleanor, with his wife Judith.

“When they were toddlers they brought Billy and I the greatest joy and love that we’ve ever known, they were wonderful and very funny of course.”

Celebrations were planned for the centenary birthday but coronavirus restrictions have made that more challenging.

Son Richard said: “It’s difficult really because we were hoping to organise a party for her but there’s nobody left apart from one brother-in-law who is in a home near Stratford.

“So I was going to organise all my cousins to try and come up, of course with Covid that’s all gone out the window.”

It is customary on your 100th birthday to receive a congratulatory message from the Queen.

Dorothy said: “I’ll just go along with it really, she must do thousands, I’m not special.

“But it will be delightful to have got a card from the Queen.”

And Dorothy’s secret to living such a long life?

“We were just normal, ordinary people who worked incredibly hard.”