FORMER Oxford shoe shop manager Rene Bradley looked at photos of her past as she celebrated her 100th birthday yesterday.

Born Elsie Irene Wickson on October 26, 1912, Mrs Bradley, known as Rene, enjoyed a party with family and friends at Tall Trees care home in Burford Road, Shipton-under-Wychwood.

She opened up her own business, Wenborn Shoes, in Windmill Lane, Headington, in the late 1950s, which she ran with first husband Reg Wenborn from the early 1960s, until his death in 1973.

Relatives compiled an album of photos to prompt happy memories for Mrs Bradley as they gathered with staff from the care home.

As well as receiving a card from the Queen, Mrs Bradley received cards from Prime Minister David Cameron and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

The mother-of-two said: “I was looking through the photo album this morning and I loved it.

“I’m enjoying the day – I received a card from the Queen and I’m beginning to realise what a special day it is.

“I do recollect my time at the shoe store and I loved it.”


Mrs Bradley’s daughter-in-law Lynda Wenborn, from Cheshire, said: “She was a born businesswoman really.

“There is a couple who live close to us who used to live in Oxford and used to go there and get their school shoes.”

Mrs Bradley’s son, Keith Wenborn, said: “I used to head to the shop at weekends and help out on a Saturday.

“Mum absolutely loved the shoe shop – to have her own shop was the ultimate.”

Born in Dorking, Mrs Bradley’s parents were Elsie and William Wickson and she lived with her family on Randolph Street, Cowley.

She worked at Milward Shoes in Oxford until just after her marriage to Reg Wenborn on November 15, 1934. They had two sons, Keith and Ian.

The family lived on Arthray Road and Stanvill Road in Oxford, on Cumnor Hill, and at Church Lane, Beckley.

After Reg’s death, she married Bill Bradley in May, 1975, and lived at Clover Close, Cumnor, and later Fernhill Road, Begbroke.

She has always enjoyed good health and an active social life and in her seventies she delivered meals on wheels.

She was also a committee member of the Yarnton Senior Folks Club until 2010.

Mrs Bradley’s older sister, Florence Morris, is 101 years old and lives in Toronto. Mrs Bradley lived on her own until December last year, when she moved to the care home.