A WOMAN has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Margaret Smith, who lives at Middleton Grove Nursing Home in Portland Road, Hove, was surrounded by family and friends on Tuesday for her party.

Margaret’s daughter Jo Clark, 66, said: “She’s the most adoring person, and one of the kindest people.

“She has always put everyone before herself.

“She’s had a hard life – she was born the year after the First World War and lived through the second, but she’s always been happy and she never moaned.”

Margaret was born on November 24, 1919 in Minstead near Midhurst in West Sussex, and used to walk two miles every day to get to Stedham Primary School.

During the Second World War, Jo said her mother was posted to Cambridge, where she met her husband Vincent, a bus driver, while Margaret worked as a conductor.

After the war Margaret moved to Brighton and worked at the department store Hills of Hove, and later she worked for the glove maker Cornelia James.

Jo said: “At the age of 82 she got her first passport and flew to South Africa for my wedding, which was the first time she had ever been on a plane.

“She’s always loved Mr Kipling’s French Fancy cakes, so I wrote to him and they sent us vouchers for all the cakes today.”

Margaret, who has three grandsons and a great grandson, moved to Middleton Grove Nursing Home three years ago after she began to develop Alzheimers.

Jo said: “I had such a fear of my mum going into a nursing home, but the staff here are lovely, and the food is great.

“She is aware of a lot of things, but sometimes she can’t get the words out.

“But the other day I said to her, why would the queen be sending you a card soon?

“And she just looked at me and said: ‘Because it’s my birthday of course’.”

Margaret was treated to champagne and cakes at her party, and was joined by the deputy mayor Alan Robins, fellow residents at the home and family, including her great grandson Oscar.

When asked what her mother’s secret is to living so long is, Jo said: “Seeing a war like she did – it’s made her a strong lady.

“She has never eaten processed food and always enjoyed cooking.

“She walked everywhere so kept fit, didn’t drink or smoke and has always had a positive outlook on life and her family around her.”

Soumya Baby, manager at Middleton Grove Nursing Home, said: “Margaret is the second to reach 100 here, and we have some more coming up next year.

“She’s a very lovely lady.”