‘Always be happy and think positive’ - the secret to a long life as South Shields grandmother celebrates turning 100

A South Shields grandma is still going strong as she celebrated her 100th birthday this week.

Tuesday, 8th October 2019, 5:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 2:55 pm
Lillian Tall with her daughter Karen Myers and granddaughter Jamie Myers reading a card given to her on the occasion of her 100th birthday. Picture by FRANK REID

Lillian Tall marked the milestone with a party attended by all her friends and family at the Sea Hotel in South Shields on her birthday, Monday, October 7.

Born Lillian Clark, in 1919, the 100-year-old grew up on Imeary Street, South Shields, with four siblings. She left school at 14 and went to work at the Sico tea and coffee packaging factory, where she stayed until she was 27.

It was while working at the factory that Lilian met the love of her life, Jim Tall, when he was 18 and she 21.

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Lillian Tall with her husband Jim and their daughter Karen (47). Picture by FRANK REID

After briefly courting, the ‘devoted’ couple were married in 1942, as Jim feared that they would never see each other again if he was sent away in the war.

Eighteen years later Lillian gave birth to daughter Karen, after thinking they couldn’t have children, and the couple went on to spend 60 happy years together living in Devon Gardens and then Marsden Lane, until Jim’s death in 2000.

“They were such a devoted couple, little did I know that they were a very rare thing,” said Karen, who is mum to Lillian’s only granddaughter, 11-year-old Jamie.

“She’s a character and is really strong minded, so it doesn’t surprise me that she’s lived to be 100. It’s incredible that she has made that age, it’s so lovely to have her around.”

Lillian Tall at 3 years old. Picture by FRANK REID

Lillian, who has lived at Ashlea Mews care home in South Shields for the last 11 years, believes the secret to her long life is to always ‘be happy, eat healthy and think positive’ - plus, she has never smoked and only drank on special occasions.

She was delighted to receive a Telegraph from the Queen and a card from the Secretary of State on the big day, in addition to the shower of gifts and flowers from loved ones at her party.

“She had a fantastic time, she has been saying for a couple of years that she was going to have a big party, so she was ecstatic,” added Karen.

“Age doesn’t matter to her it’s just a number and she is still smiling, it’s a blessing.”

Lillian Tall presented with flowers on the occasion of her 100th birthday by family friends Jim and Liv McKie. Picture by FRANK REID
Lillian Tall with her husband Jim and their daughter Karen (6 months old). Picture by FRANK REID
Lillian Tall with her 100th Birthday Card from HM Queen Elizabeth II. Picture by FRANK REID
Lillian Tall with her daughter Karen Myers. Picture by FRANK REID