Tributes paid to Gosforth great-grandmother who died one month after 100th birthday

Tributes have been paid to Vera Martindale, of Gosforth, Newcastle, who spent her whole life in her beloved city

Vera Martindale from Gosforth
Vera Martindale from Gosforth

A centenarian great grandmother has died a month after her 100th birthday.

Tributes have been paid to Vera Martindale, of Gosforth, Newcastle, who spent her whole life in her beloved city.

Always sporty, she represented Northumberland in tennis and golf and was Ladies’ Secretary of Northumberland Golf Club.

Mrs Martindale was born Vera Clements in Jesmond, Newcastle on December 16, 1913.

Her father Thomas Clements was a leading member of the community, being Lord Mayor and Sheriff on two occasions as well as a well-known business leader.

Vera was the youngest of five siblings with a sister and three elder brothers.

She always loved sport from a young age, and was highly successful, playing in the first teams at Jesmond’s Central High School.

She met her husband Colin at Jesmond Tennis Club, which was at the heart of her social life.

Colin had just moved to Newcastle from Carlisle, and was immediately drawn into Vera’s large family circle along with the family’s dogs and cats.

Vera was married in June 1939, just before war broke out. After only a short time together Colin joined the Northumberland Fusiliers, and was sent to the Middle East and Africa.

Other than just one home visit, the couple didn’t see each other for the next six years.

However in 1945, Colin finally came home complete with a territorial decoration for bravery and a military MBE.

But the best home coming present was meeting his four-year-old daughter Judie for the first time.

Colin and Vera re-started their life together and their son Keith was born in 1948.

They took a keen interest in golf, which was to become an all-consuming hobby and took Colin and Vera all over the world.

Vera played tennis and golf for Northumberland County and in 1975 she was made Ladies’ Captain of the Northumberland Golf Club. She served as competition and county handicap secretary with a phenomenal knowledge of the rules of golf.

Latterly she was made an honorary life member of the club.

Vera always had a love of sport, as well as of animals.

She was a passionate bridge player into her 90s and a maestro at cracking the cryptic crossword in the daily newspapers.

She also loved her home town of Newcastle, its football team and the Northumberland coast.

Vera had many friends and supported Colin in his business, as the senior partner of Sanderson Townend and Gilbert firm of chartered surveyors.

Vera enjoyed life and loved meeting people. With her keen wit and sense of humour always had a firm opinion about everyone she met.

She was the matriarch of the family for over 30 years following the death of Colin in 1983.

She spent the best part of her life living in Gosforth, but reluctantly moved to the Chalfont Abbeyfield in 2008.

She celebrated her 100th birthday there in December last year, surrounded by friends and family including two of her nephews from Delhi and Brasilia.

Vera died on January 16. She leaves behind her children Judie and Keith, her devoted grandchildren Martin, Nick, Joey, Simon and Jonny, and four great-grandchildren.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
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