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Mary Hamer - A Pioneer Bolton Motorist

Information supplied by Jean Howarth

Mary Hamer, born in Bolton in 1900, was one of Bolton's pioneer women drivers. Her father was a director of the Fine Cotton Spinners and Doublers Association and he didn't drive. When her brother lost a leg in the First World War it was Mary who became the family driver, aged about 16.

She drove her parents on motoring holidays around the country, but especially to Scotland. In the Second World War Mary was appointed section leader of the Watermillock volunteer Ambulance Service. There were over sixty voluntary women drivers, and the service was staffed day and night throughout the war. Duties included providing transport for the Hospital Comforts Dept in Howell Croft, and taking ambulances and canteens to Liverpool and Manchester after the blitz. Mary was still driving when she was 94 and calculated that she had had 32 cars, from a model T Ford to an Austin Allegro. Her favourite was a Buick limousine, the worst a Singer Gazelle.

Mary's family lived at The Willows, Sharples Park and later she lived at Belmont Road, having married her husband Jack, an artist, when she was 45. Mary who was also a pioneer woman walker and climber died aged 97 in 1997.