TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Pilks canteen lady who lived through both World Wars who has died at the age of 107.

Mary Nicholson, known as Polly, lived most recently at Elizabeth Court Care Home Sutton and has bene described as “a fiercely independent but caring” woman.

Born on January 12, 1915, to Murdoch and Esther Nicholson, Polly had an older brother John and a younger sister Annie.

Her mum died of diabetes when Polly was six and her sister just three. 

Polly’s dad was a medic in the First World War but returned poorly after he was gassed. 

Pilkingtons built them a bungalow near Carr Mill Dam and Polly’s grandmother helped out with looking after them.

When she became too ill to help out, Polly’s dad remarried and they moved to Crank Post Office near the Red Cat Pub and went to Crank School. 

Polly’s niece Carole Foulds said: “Although it wasn't an easy life she had many fond memories of her life spent in Crank, like the time they went to collect the milk from the farm in a snow blizzard.

“Or the time when she was cleaning out the pigsty, when it surprised her and she ended up going for a ride on its back around the yard.”

Polly’s stepmum looked after them after her dad died and as Polly got older, she became more involved in the business, until her stepmum passed away. 

St Helens Star: Polly holding her baby niece JeanPolly holding her baby niece Jean

Polly then took a flat in Fingerpost and found a job in the canteen at Pilkington Bros and finally bought a house in Stanhope Street, where she lived until she was 102.

Carole added: “She was fiercely independent but caring towards others, even doing the shopping for younger people than herself when she was 100 years.

“She has lived through two World Wars, two hip operations which we got told by the doctors that she might not survive, shocking even the hospital staff when she was sitting up in a chair hours after her operation.

"She had Covid twice which she didn't like because she had to stop in her room.”

St Helens Star: Polly with her 107th birthday card from Queen Elizabeth IIPolly with her 107th birthday card from Queen Elizabeth II

Polly leaves behind family, including nieces Carole and Jean.

Carole added: “Her family was everything to her and she enjoyed many holidays and celebrations with them.

“Polly always said that full fat milk, cream and a tot of whiskey is good for you. 

"She was an amazing person and inspired many of the younger members of the family, she will be greatly missed and will leave a huge void within our hearts.”

Polly’s funeral takes place at St Helens Crematorium on Monday, August 22 from 3pm.