• Debbie Thrower

Devoted sisters with many a tale to tell...

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

Muriel Thomas and Mary Thomas at Borovere care home, Alton

A missionary and a midwife

The death in an Alton care home recently of Mary Thomas, at the age of 103 (non Covid-19 related), brings to a close the story of two devoted Hampshire sisters.

Mary's sister Muriel, who was also a resident of Borovere care home in Alton for several years, until 2015 when she died at the age of 96, had been a missionary in West Africa.

Mary, who had been a midwife locally, was a resident of Borovere for 14 years in all, outliving her sister. The last several years of Mary's life were spent confined to bed, but she was visited by friends from Alton Methodist Church, her family, and the town's Anna Chaplains.

Mary Thomas

Ten thousand babies

Mary and a new mum and her baby in the 1960's

In his eulogy, their nephew, Graham Thomas, said: 'We tried to estimate how many babies Mary may have delivered in her career as a midwife – and even with a conservative estimate of one and a half babies a day – bearing in mind the baby-boomer years of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s – we believe that Mary could have delivered as many as 10,000 babies over her working career as a midwife.

'In 1957 her sister Muriel returned to the UK from her Methodist Missionary work in Nigeria and lived again at Saintbury Hill Farm to help look after their mother, while Mary continued to carry out her midwifery duties at the Alton General Hospital.

'In 1972, Mary’s sister Muriel was sent to Sierra Leone as a Methodist Missionary, on the West Coast of Africa and was involved in Pastoral Work and Lay Training, working there through to her retirement, at 62, in 1980.'