Bananas the secret to long life as Greta celebrates 100th birthday

Greta Halpin in her home with Paul Mullis and her daughters Greta Gray and Ann Ford.
Greta Halpin in her home with Paul Mullis and her daughters Greta Gray and Ann Ford.

Forget an apple, according to Greta Halpin it’s a banana a day that helps keep the doctor away.

And as she turned 100 recently, she should definitely know!

Greta, who lives in the Aged Miners’ Homes in Marsden Road, South Shields, reached her centenary last week.

With six children, 10 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and six great, great-grandchildren, there were no shortage of well-wishers at her home.

Greta puts a number of reasons down to her longevity, one being eating bananas pretty much every day of her life.

She says: “I have always loved bananas and even during the Second World War when they were scarce, I still managed to get a penny off my mother to buy one from my local shop.

“I wouldn’t like to count how many bananas I have had over my lifetime, but I like to think they have helped; I only saw the doctor for the first time in ten years recently!.

Another thing that keeps Greta ‘young’ are her family.

She adds: “I still get on the floor to play with the children when they come round and I try to keep up with the latest trends.

“I know all about smartphones and boy bands, but I prefer the music we used to dance to!”

Greta worked in nursing most of her life and that’s where she met her late husband Thomas.

She added: “I never been a big one for fuss, but I have enjoyed my life so far and it was nice to see all my family and to get a telegram from the Queen.”

Paul Mullis, Chief Executive of Durham Aged Mineworkers’ Homes Association, presented Greta with a bouquet of flowers.

He said: “It was wonderful hearing about Greta’s life; having been in her home for almost 40 years, she told me things that I didn’t know about our properties at Marsden Road.

“It’s fantastic to see her still going so strong, and I look forward to visiting her again to mark future birthdays.”