Helen Chitty, 49, from Croydon, tells us how her Grandma celebrated her 100th birthday...
‘I did it… my way!’ my grandma Nancy sang.
She knew the words to every Frank Sinatra song. Coming up to 100, the golden oldie hardly sat still.
She never missed a chance to sing or dance, and never said no to a Guinness!
Grandma was born in 1917, towards the end of World War I.
The last surviving child of nine, she’d grown up in poverty on The Wirral, Liverpool.
She lived through the Second World War, too, and worked on the railways. There, she met my grandad Bob Watson, and moved to London in 1947.
Sadly, Grandad died aged just 62, when I was 14 years old.
Since then, Grandma’s lived with my mum – her daughter – Joan, 74, and my dad Alan, 76, who look after her.
Although she’s had a hard life, Grandma has never stopped smiling.
After a fall last November, she had a hip replacement. But was walking soon after.
And joking around…
‘Give me a go on that bike,’ she laughed to her neighbour Tim Sizer as he wheeled his motocross up his garden path.
‘If you reach 100,’ he winked.
It wasn’t far off…
On 20 February, her big day, she woke to find an expensive-looking envelope on the doormat.
‘It’s from the Queen!’ she said.
But the party wasn’t over yet…
A revving noise came from outside. It was Tim and his bike.
‘I have a promise to keep,’ he laughed.
Grandma’s face went quite pale as she strapped her helmet on.
‘You can change your mind if you want,’ I said, worried.
But she did it!
She looked tiny on the back of the bike, and squealed like a child as it roared up the road.
‘I could get used to this!’ she screamed.
She had to put her rollers back in afterwards, though. The helmet had flattened her hair!
‘Right, what next?’ she winked. She even toyed with writing a bucket list…
I treated Grandma to tea at posh Selsdon Park Hotel.
‘Fancy a girl from The Wirral drinking out of china!’ she laughed.
The next week, we threw her a big birthday party. And I mean big!
With two kids, six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, there were a lot of invites to send!
Grandma never stopped dancing, and ended the night singing Liverpool FC’s anthem, You’ll Never Walk Alone.
I’m dreading what she’ll want to do next year. Sky-diving, swimming with sharks…
It won’t be too much for my daredevil gran!