A woman who recently turned 100 claims she is “not bored yet”.
Doris Smith, nicknamed ‘The Queen’ by family and friends, celebrated her birthday on Sunday with cream tea and champagne at The Grove Hotel in Watford.
Mrs Smith, who lives in Harrows Meade, Edgware, said: “I don’t feel old. I live from day to day, and take it as it comes. Every day is a bonus, and I’m not bored yet.
She has two daughters, Valerie Grundy, who also lives in Edgware, and Jennifer Brown, who lives in Hendon. Her family also includes four grandchildren, and six great grandchildren, with another grandchild due in March.
Mrs Grundy, 72, who works as a hairdresser, said: “People don’t believe it when we tell them she’s 100. They ask her what her secret is.”
Mrs Smith added: “I have the support of all my lovely family. I couldn’t do what I do without them. I have never had to worry about anything, and I won’t start now.”
Mrs Smith was born in Kentish Town shortly after the First World War started. Her father was killed fighting in the trenches in 1915, when she was eight months old.
She met her husband Bill when she was 17 at Stanley Hall, a dance hall in Tufnell Park that she used to visit twice a week. She said: “I love ballroom dancing. I could still do it now but I can’t stand for very long.”
Mr Smith, who died 20 years ago, ran a wholesale business in Paddington. He worked in the fire brigade during the Second World War.
Mrs Brown, 67, who teaches English at the Garden Suburb Infant School in Hampstead, said: “He would tell us how the city would be lit up at night because the whole of the docks were on fire. He never really talked about the war. He would say it was a terrible time because he never knew if we would survive.”
The family home, in Kentish Town, was damaged during the war, after a bomb went off down their street. A crack was left down the side of the house, and the floor was destroyed. As a result, Mrs Smith went to live with her sister for three years in Leicester, before returning in time to celebrate VE day. She added: “By that time, there were bombsites everywhere.”
Mr and Mrs Smith moved to Edgware 40 years ago. She said: “You can see the difference in Edgware, there are a lot more buildings now and it’s much busier. The immediate area hasn’t changed a lot though.”
The family eventually all ended up moving to within a five-mile radius of one another.
Apart from the celebrations, there is one other thing about turning 100 Doris is looking forward to.
“I’m thrilled to get the letter from the actual Queen”, she added. “I’m going to put it in a gold frame.”