Second World War veteran living in Calgary celebrates ’10 Days of Mavis’ for 100th birthday

Ten days of celebration have been underway for a veteran of the Second World War and “sweet lady” who turned 100 just two days before Remembrance Day.

Winnifred Magor, who more commonly goes by Mavis, was born in the U.K on Nov. 9, 1920 and at the age of 22, joined the British Royal Air Force as a cook and served as part of the bomber command, according to a bio from the Royal Canadian Legion.

Read more: More than 200K Remembrance Day masks sold across Canada to raise funds for veterans

Magor cooked everything from bread pudding to eggless cakes for soldiers who were part of 23 bomber squadrons. When she wasn’t cooking, she was watching the soldiers take off on their missions, many of whom never returned.

Magor was described by her commanding officer as “reliable, diligent, contentious and an excellent cook.”

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Once the war was over, and she was “demobbed” in 1946, Magor headed to Canada to start a new life.

She now lives at the Carewest Colonel Belcher home in Calgary, where she celebrated her centennial birthday on Monday.

“There’s so much happening. I may not go to bed, my mind will start turning around about all the happenings,” Magor told Global News from outside the home.

“Everything was so unexpected and such a surprise that I’ve enjoyed it all.”

As part of the “10 Days of Mavis,” Magor had a visit from the Calgary Police Service, Mayor Naheed Nenshi sent her well wishes, and those close to her are trying to arrange a drive-by from the Calgary Fire Department on Tuesday, the final day of her celebrations.

Alberta-Northwest Territories Royal Canadian Legion executive director Tammy Wheeler said Magor didn’t have a lot of family in town, but she’s “family in our office,” so they wanted to do something special to celebrate her milestone.

“She’s a lovely person she’s got a great story,” Wheeler said. “And she lived to see so many things. And for her to be here today and to be outside, it’s just amazing.”

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Read more: Watch live: Calgary’s 2020 Remembrance Day ceremony at the Field of Crosses

As a veteran of the war, Magor said Remembrance Day is a time she takes to look back at all the things that happened at the station she was at during the war.

“And all the people that didn’t come back,” she said through tears.

“I was on bomber command and you sent the planes out every night, when they come back in the morning, you just wondered if everyone’s come back.”

Winnifred ‘Mavis’ Magor in her British Royal Air Force uniform.
Winnifred ‘Mavis’ Magor in her British Royal Air Force uniform. Supplied to Global News

Magor also received well wishes from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Governor General Julie Payette and even The Queen. She will receive those as certificates next month.

“I was very happy that the people here treated me so nicely and did so much for me to make my birthday what it turned out to be,” Magor said.

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What’s Magor’s best piece of advice heading into her next year?

“Well like I say, live your life as best you can because you never know what’s around the corner. So it’s best to do the best you can with your life while you can do it. That’s what I did.”

— With files from Global News’ Deb Matejicka

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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