South Shields centurion shares advice on long and happy life

Jennie Darling celebrates her 100th birthday  with family and friends
Jennie Darling celebrates her 100th birthday with family and friends

A grandmother from South Tyneside has shared the secrets to her long life as she celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by loved ones.

Jennie Darling marked her milestone birthday on Sunday, January 28, at St Mary’s Court, South Shields, - her home for the last 10 years.

Jennie Darling celebrating her 100th birthday

Jennie Darling celebrating her 100th birthday

Born in Ethel Street, South Shields in 1918, Mrs Darling left school aged 15 and eventually took up a job at the Post Office at Tyne Dock which she still talks about often.

In 1941, she married her husband Ben Darling, who was a professional footballer for Hull City, at Glebe Methodist Church and the pair moved to Cranford Street in South Shields.

The couple had a daughter Moira Darling and Mrs Darling now has five grandchildren and one great-grand child.

Sharing the secrets to her long life, she said: “I worked hard, never drank and never smoked.

“That’s my secret to living so long.

“Being happy counts as well.”

St Mary’s Court team manager Sarah Wilson said they celebrated the day with a party at the home.

She said: “Jennie is a lovely person who loves to join us in having a cup of tea at the retirement property.

“She has a great sense of humour and loves watching TV.”

“She had a fabulous day and everyone enjoyed themselves.

“The Mayor and Mayoress, Coun Olive Punchion and Mrs Mary French, came to the home and Jennie had family around, with some even coming from Canada.

“One of her family members even read a quirky poem they had written about her life.

“It was a really nice day.”