Ethel has served Britain's greats

FROM Winston Churchill to Margaret Thatcher - Ethel Lock has served dinner to some of the most famous people in British History.But today as she approaches her 100th birthday, Mrs Lock is quite content to relax a little and instead serve the odd cup of tea to friends in the residential home where she lives.

FROM Winston Churchill to Margaret Thatcher - Ethel Lock has served dinner to some of the most famous people in British History.

But today as she approaches her 100th birthday, Mrs Lock is quite content to relax a little and instead serve the odd cup of tea to friends in the residential home where she lives.

Mrs Lock of Prince of Wales Drive, worked as a silver service waitress in the House of Commons from the 1940s until well into the 1960s.

She has served food and drink to countless Prime Ministers and MPs, including Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill and Enoch Powell all of which she said were always friendly and polite to the busy group of waiters and waitresses.

She said: “All the meals had to be served on the left hand side and we had to be very careful.

“We all worked really hard and we had to serve the afternoon meals on the balcony overlooking the Thames.”

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“We would chat to them if they were talkative, about their pets and things.

“But the MPs all had a job to do like we had.”

Mrs Lock said one of her favourite Prime Ministers was Enoch Powell, who the waiters and waitresses nicknamed “The Farmer” because he always wore heavy boots.

Mrs Lock also recalled the sudden death of Sir Hugh Gaitskill in 1963, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the opposition party.

She said: “He was a very nice man and everybody went into mourning when he died.

“He was my particular favourite as I used to serve him a lot.”

Mrs Lock and her husband William, like many families today, had to work hard to juggle work and family life and to provide everything their young family needed.

Her daughter Shirley Brown, 59, said: “Both my parents were very hard working people and they had to go to work to support us, we never went without anything, we always had food on the table.

“My mum had a very busy fulfilling working life.”

Despite the fact that Mrs Lock would sometimes have to work up to three shifts a day for a mere £3 a week, she said she really enjoyed her time at the House of Commons.

She said: “It was hard work for little pay but I did enjoy every minute of it really.

“Once a year the MPs would hire a whole train to take us to the seaside that went to Brighton, Clifftonville or Margate.

“And when the Queen was opening parliament in November time we all had to go in to the Lords to see her.

“She looked lovely because she had all her cloaks and jewellery on.”

Mrs Lock has two daughters, Shirley, 59 and Josephine, 57, as well as two grandchildren, Louise, 33, and Neal , 28.

>Ethel Flora Lock was born on September 25 1907, the same year as the English poet W.H.Auden and the actors, Katherine Hepburn and Laurence Olivier.

>Ethel's brother, Harry Game, died in 2004, two months after his 100th birthday.

>Ethel plans to celebrate her 100th birthday with her family, but said she doesn't want a card with 100 on it as it makes her feel old. She also hopes to get a telegram from the Queen.

>Ethel still enjoys applying her silver service training in her old people's home and still helps to pour out the tea.

Her mind is still very keen despite her age and she enjoys a regular game of bingo, cards or dominoes.

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