THEY say laughter is the best medicine, and one 91-year-old attributes her long life to her happy-go-lucky nature.

Mother and grand-mother Betty Cavendish has had a long and full life – from marrying young and travelling the world with her husband to a quick game of bingo and a splash in the pool with her friends.

The 91-year-old, who is already looking forward to her next birthday in March, was born in the East End in 1924 as the oldest of three siblings – Gladys, Blanche and Marilyn.

Aged just 19, she met the man she would call the love of her life Alan and the pair instantly hit it off.

She said: “I was what you would call a child bride, we were both only 19-years-old when we got married but he was a bit of a toyboy – I was born in March and he was born in December.

“I so wanted to get married in white and my mother gave me £10 to go out and go shopping with, telling me I had to have change when I came back.

“I went out and found the most beautiful dress - £7.50. So I rushed and bought it and came home with the change for my mum.

“We got married quite quickly but I loved him. He was the best husband anyone could have wanted.”

Shortly after the wedding, the couple began looking for a place to call their own and soon settled in The Chase, in Edgware, 68 years ago – a place her father called “the wilderness” and which she initially hated.

But after a stroke of fate, the house next door soon came available and her parents Debbie and Alex and younger sister Marilyn had packed up their belongings and moved in.

She said: “It was so wonderful being with my mum and dad again, I was the apple of my dad’s eye so I loved having them so close.

“I hated living her and kept saying I want to go home, so I loved having my family next door.”

Her son Les, now 68, added: “We basically all lived in the two houses together. We knocked down the fence and just all came and went whenever we wanted.

“It was great, we were such a close family.”

As the family grew up, the couple travelled all over the world, going on safari, seeing the sights of Hong Kong, visiting Alan’s family in America and flying on the Concord.

After Alan died 35 years ago, Betty began going out with her new-found friends in north London, going shopping, playing bingo or going for a swim at Harrow Leisure Centre.

With a beaming grin on her face, the keen swimmer says staying active is very important in remaining young – but laughter is the key to her young-at-heart lifestyle and great age.

She said: “We’ve always been a very close family – I practically raised my sister Marilyn because she is only 18 months older than my son Les so I see her more as a daughter.

“But we all laugh a lot. That’s the key. We never send ‘mother’ or ‘son’ cards on birthdays or at Christmas – it’s always a funny card, we always laugh together.

“Age is just a number to me. I’ve had a good life and have done what I wanted to do and I wouldn’t do anything differently.

“I have been incredibly lucky with my life so why shouldn’t I keep smiling and laughing.”