Centenarian May celebrates special milestone

May McKinstry pictured celebrating her 100th birthday with her sons Billy, Jim and George and her daughter Ann. INNT 29-803CON
May McKinstry pictured celebrating her 100th birthday with her sons Billy, Jim and George and her daughter Ann. INNT 29-803CON

A Newtownabbey woman who was born just days after the start of the Battle of the Somme has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Mary Ann (May) McKinstry was joined by family and friends, including her sons Billy, George and Jim and her daughter Ann, for a special birthday dinner at Corr’s Corner Hotel on Sunday, July 10.

May Norwood was born on July 10, 1916 at the height of the First World War. She was one of seven children. After leaving school she went on to work at the Linfield Mill in Belfast. A typical day involved a long shift at the mill, before going to the Northern Ireland Railways offices to scrub the floors.

At the age of 22, May contracted TB. This resulted in a six month stay in Whiteabbey Sanatorium.

During the Second World War May met the love her life, George McKinstry. He served as a gunner in the Royal Navy. The couple married when May was 28.

Sadly their married life was cut short when George passed away in 1973.

To support her family, May returned to work at the age of 59. She would continue to work until the age of 72 at Dobbin and Stewart.

In her 80s May took up painting and some of her work now hangs in the homes of family and friends.

May, who is the life and soul of her family, passed on three bits of advice to her relatives: “Never tell people your troubles as they’ve enough of their own; If your spouse asks you out you should go with them or they might find someone else to go with; Never tell anyone you have no money, nobody is going to give you any.”