Former music teacher celebrates 100th birthday with surprise performance by top cellist

Mary Tarry celebrating her 100th birthday''Pictured: Mary Tarry along with family. From left: Nephew Phil Tarry with wife Anne and Peter Tarry with wife Gill ANL-160301-200216009
Mary Tarry celebrating her 100th birthday''Pictured: Mary Tarry along with family. From left: Nephew Phil Tarry with wife Anne and Peter Tarry with wife Gill ANL-160301-200216009
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A former music teacher celebrated her 100th birthday with a surprise performance from a winner of the West Suffolk Young Musician of the Year competition.

Mary Tarry was treated to a party at The Martins residential home, in Bury St Edmunds, on Sunday with a musical appearance by cellist Rebecca Francis.

The 13-year-old, of Hessett, who also played the oboe and was accompanied by her mum Sharon on piano, won the Level Two section of the Young Musician contest last year.

Mary said: “Everybody was so kind and I had so many cards and presents.”

Born in North Finchley, in London, she was the youngest of four. Her father was called up to serve in the First World War but was killed within three months when she was just 15-months-old.

They moved to Hatfield when her eldest brother worked at a farm on the Hatfield Estate owned by Lord Salisbury. They later moved to St Albans and Mary taught violin and piano at St George’s School, in Harpenden, and privately.

She also taught at St Albans High School before retiring in 1976 to Aldeburgh, where she played in a music club and as part of a trio. Mary moved to The Martins, in The Vinefields, aged 92.

Active in the church throughout her life, she received a rendition of happy birthday at St Mary’s Church on Sunday.

On reaching 100, she said: “I feel that if God meant me to be here, he kept me here. I do know that my faith has helped me through all sorts of ups and downs.” She has 15 great-great nephews and nieces.