Designer of Start-Rite logo celebrates 100th birthday at Leamington care home

Nancy Gardner turned 100 on November 8.
Nancy Gardner turned 100 on November 8.

A “marvellous” Leamington granny and designer of the logo of a world-famous children’s shoe company has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Nancy Gardner (nee Ward), who was born in Stafford on November 8 1915, celebrated at Adelaide House care home in Leamington, where she lives, with her family.

Nancy wanted to study art, but her father’s shoe factory closed down in the 1930s and the family moved to Norfolk, where her father found work at children’s shoes manufacturer Start-Rite.

In 1936 Nancy designed a logo for the company which depicted two children walking hand-in-hand. The logo is still being used today. Nancy has also illustrated two books and continued to paint and draw up until she was in her early 90s.

She married John Gardner in 1938 and the couple moved to the Midlands after the Second World War. They had a son (Charles), two grandchildren (Tom and Harriet) and three great-grandchildren.

John died in 1983. Barry Thorpe-Smith of Adelaide House said: “Nancy threw herself into being a marvellous granny to Tom and Harriet, babysitting, showing them how to draw and generally being fun, which is why they love her so much, as does the whole family.”