27th Oct, 2020

Mary, 97, named a local hero for spreading smiles in the community

Andy Morris 2nd Jul, 2020

AN ‘INCREDIBLE’ 97-year-old has been named a local hero by a charity looking to recognise special people in communities up and down the UK.

Mary Lock from Rugby was selected by the Oral Health Foundation as part of Nominate a Smile – its initiative to recognise people who go the extra mile to put a smile on somebody’s face.

Mary was nominated by Dr Ravinder Kalirai, her dentist from Grey Gables Dental Practice in Bilton.

Dr Kalirai said: “Mary simply has the kindest soul. She has volunteered at Rugby St Cross Hospital for many years and has been knitting little bags and toys for refugee children across the world.

“Mary also makes shoe boxes full of essentials and treats for the children. She is simply an incredible human being and I’m blessed to know her as my patient and friend.

“When I think of somebody who goes out of their way to put a smile on another person’s face, Mary is the first that comes to mind.”

Retired shop keeper Mary, a great grandmother of six, has led an eventful life.

Her house was bombed during the Blitz in 1940 – but rather than let it intimidate her, Mary joined the Civil Defence Association and was drawn to the Fire Guard where she became the only female instructor.

After she left school, Mary worked at Barclay’s Bank in Coventry, before meeting her late husband Clive while attending St George’s Church in Rugby. They were married in 1947 and had two children – a son and daughter.

For the last 25 years, Mary has volunteered at Rugby St Cross Hospital as a member of the Friends of St Cross charity. During her time, the charity has raised over £3million for the hospital.

Nominate A Smile was organised by the Oral Health Foundation as part of National Smile Month – a campaign that aims to raise awareness of the importance of a healthy smile.

As one of five national winners, Mary has received an electric toothbrush.

Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, believes Mary is a role model in how to maintain a healthy smile.

He said: “Mary has lived a remarkable life and should be very proud of all that she’s achieved.

“Right at the top of her list of accomplishments should be her smile.

“At 97, Mary still has most of her natural teeth which is an amazing testament to her commitment to looking after them. She is living proof that a healthy smile is for life and we’re delighted to be able to honour her with this award.”

Asked how she manages to look after her smile so well, Mary said: “You must clean your teeth before you go to bed. I’ve always brushed my teeth twice a day, sometimes three times a day, and have never gone to bed without brushing my teeth first.”

Contact the Oral Health Foundation’s Dental Helpline on 01788 539 780 or helpline@dentalhealth.org for advice on oral health.

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