It is many happy returns to birthday girl ‘Nan’ who celebrates turning 104 today.
Great-grandmother Ann Hunter marked reaching the remarkable figure a day early at a special coffee morning held in her honour yesterday at Blenkinsop Court, sheltered housing complex, in South Shields.
The centenarian was one of the first to move into the property, run by South Tyneside Homes, and is its oldest resident.
Born in 1913 in Victoria Road, she has survived two World Wars - even saving the life of her landlady as bullets rained down on a South Shields street from a German plane above.
Once a keen bingo player, it is only due to ill health - Mrs Hunter is registered blind and is now housebound - that she has been forced to give up one of her favourite pasttimes.
Mrs Hunter, who is known affectionately as Nan, revealed the secret to her long and happy life as she celebrated her birthday with staff, fellow residents and her daughter Ann.
It was great growing up in South Shields. I did not want to live anywhere else. I was born here.Ann Hunter
She said: “Don’t hurry. Take your time. You will get there the same.”
Mrs Hunter, who grew up in South Shields and attended Holy Trinity School was married in 1934 at Holy Trinity Church, to Edward, known as Ted.
The couple, who lived in Portberry Street before finally settling in Masefield Drive, had two children, Eddie, 80, and Ann, 77.
Following husband’s death in 1978 at the age of 67, Mrs Hunter eventually moved into Blenkinsop Court in 1984.
Mrs Hunter, who carried out domestic work during her younger years, said: “I liked the Lawe Top. I was quite happy up there.
“It was great growing up in South Shields. I did not want to live anywhere else. I was born here.”
On moving into Blenkinsop Court she added: “It’s lovely, beautiful. It’s been some of the most happiest years of my life here.
“We have had some good times in here.”
Daughter Ann Hunter, who used to attend the Crown Bingo Hall with her mum, said: “She has always been there for me and my brother.
“She is an absolutely wonderful mother and grandmother. She has always been there for us and I’m glad I can now be there for her. She never complains and we do have a laugh.”
Housing Plus Officer, Joanne Brotherton said: “Nan, is a remarkable woman who has been here since the beginning of Blenkinsop.
“She has such a nice attitude towards life and has been active until recently. She is an excellent advert for South Tyneside Homes.”
Nan has four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.