Love Grays Community

Love Grays Community

The Love Grays community are what make Grays great. This space is dedicated to those that Love Grays most. Each month will host a new blog, so if you want to shout out about Grays please get in touch at

Meet Local Celeb, 99 Year Old Ellen!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Photography courtesy of Jen Farrant, writer, consultant and photographer.


My name is Ellen Trangmar and I have lived in Grays since 1952. On the 20th December this year I will be turning 99. I was very honoured to be the one to turn on the Christmas lights this year as part of the Love Grays Christmas Lights Switch On.

For 66 years of my life I have been a member of the Grays community and know the town well. I have seen the high street change in many ways. My favourite shop has to be Bon Marche at the end of the high street. The one thing that hasn’t changed in Grays in all my time is the community spirit that everyone feels.

Grays has, and will continue to be, a huge part of my life. I raised my family here and have been blessed with 7 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren so far. My late husband, George, owned a small business in Grays many years ago called Grays Wood Products which my son Frank helped to run when he was 15. Sadly the business is no longer around but we still have fond memories.

Even though I am 99 I do have a rather good memory and this event will bring back fond memories of when I used to play the piano for a ballet and dance school in Tilbury, and we would put on shows at the Thameside Theatre.

I joined Thurrock Contact the Elderly 9 months ago now and it has changed my life for the better. I have an amazing family who look after me wonderfully, but meeting people my own age is lovely. We all enjoy having a good natter about the old days over a cup of tea. A volunteer comes to my house to pick me up and takes me home after each event. The volunteers are so kind and gentle, they look after us extraordinarily well.

When my friends at Thurrock Contact the Elderly told me I would be switching on the Christmas lights this year I couldn’t believe it. I can’t wait to see all of my family, and I treasure the idea of being a local celebrity for the day. My family keep telling me “you’re not the Queen now you know and we won’t be bowing to you”. I find this very amusing!

I’d like to share with you a dream I had the other night. I was in Grays Town Centre playing the piano again like I used to, with my late son in law with me playing the trumpet in his Jazz Band, we we’re playing music and the community were gathered around listening. I truly love music, and if I had some magic dust I would sprinkle it on my fingers so I could play just like I used to once.

I found it quite emotional switching on the Christmas lights and seeing lots of people enjoying themselves, I really did feel like a celebrity for the day.



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