ONE of the region’s oldest residents who married in secret nearly 80 years ago has died aged 101.

Miriam Gladys Bell, of Beechwood Close, Mold, despite her great age led an independent life.

Earlier this month Mrs Bell was admitted to the Maelor Hospital in Wrexham after
suffering a stroke and fall. She died on August 13.

Mrs Bell’s husband Alec passed away in 1983 while they were living in Buckinghamshire.

The couple had a highly unusual start to married life in 1931, says eldest son Keith.

“At the time she was working in service in Manchester and my father was a gardener in Ellesmere,” he said.

“Once a woman got married she had to leave work, so to get round that they married in secret.

“As far as I am aware the only person who was in on the whole thing was my father’s best man. I think he was Ivor Roberts. Their honeymoon was half a day in
Chester and that was it.

“They remained living separately for about another year until my father got a job as a gardener in Betws-y-Coed which had a house provided. That meant they could be together.”

The couple moved from Betws-y-Coed to Nannerch where they remained for 12 years. In that time they had two sons, Keith, who is now 73 and lives in Spain with wife Trudy, and Graham, 67, who lives in Leicestershire with wife Christine.

In 1946 the family moved to Buckinghamshire when Mr Bell secured a job as a head gardener.

After his death Mrs Bell moved back to North East Wales to be closer to Keith, who at the time was living in Maeshafn. Keith and Trudy moved to Spain in 2002.

“She was a wonderful mother and family was very important to her,” said Keith.

“She had three grandchildren and two great grandchildren and doted on them.

“She did remarkably well living independently throughout her life, although in later years she did have some assistance.”