East Boldon resident Nora Alnes marked her 10th decade with a glass of prosecco, surrounded by family and friends at Langholm Court on December 10.
Nora, who was born in Simonside on December 10, 1919 trained as a nurse and midwife at the former Ingham Infirmary in South Shields.
She met her husband, Nick, a Norwegian whaler at the hospital during the Second World War and after the war they moved to Norway to start a new life together.
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Nora worked as a health visitor in Stavanger for more than 30 years before returning to the North East to be near her family when she retired, at the age of 65.
“I’m divided between Norway and England, I love them both,” said Nora, who flew back to Norway every year until she was 80.
“I had a lovely time working in Norway but I came back because my sister lived here. I had many friends over there but no family.”
One of those friends travelled across to surprise Nora at the party at Langholm Court where she has lived for several years. Among the guests were her sister Marjorie Walsh, 94, niece and nephew Helen Irving and Geoffrey Walsh, great niece Claire Holohan and her fellow residents.
She received dozens of cards, gifts and flowers, including a telegram from the Queen.
“My aunt loves the Queen and the Royal Family, it was so important to her to get that,” said Helen.
“She got so many presents, cards and beautiful flowers, I think she was a bit overwhelmed.”
Nora, who still speaks fluent Norwegian, keeps her mind active with a love of reading and still takes part in coffee mornings at the home.
The family put her many years down to a sense of humour.
“My secret is just to enjoy life and laugh a lot,” said Nora.
“I just stay active and keep going all the time - although I can’t see me living until I’m 200.”
She added: “I would just like to thank everyone for the kindness that has been shown. I had a really wonderful day.”