A woman who devoted her life to caring for others has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Elsie Dibbell spent the day surrounded by more than 50 guests who lavished her with cards, presents and flowers at Rustington Hall care home, near Littlehampton.

The youngest guest was just 12 days old.

Miss Dibbell, who lived on her own until April last year, said: "I had the most wonderful party and was so touched at the effort that went into it. I got so many cards, I might have to count them all.

"The card from the Queen was beautiful. I have only seen one once a few years ago so I was very pleased. Everyone was so kind to me.

"We had a lovely dinner and then had cake and champagne. I think champagne is rather over-rated and I only usually have it at weddings. But it was a lovely thought."

Guests sang Happy Birthday to Miss Dibbell and blew toy trumpets to toast her big day. Two girls from Angmering School sang The Snowman and played the piano for her.

Guests at the party on New Years Eve included her old neighbours, Sylvia and Roger Seymour, who brought along family members including their grand-daughter Hannah, who was born just before Christmas.

Miss Dibbell said: "The baby was such a sweet little thing. It sat in my lap and was as good as gold. It didn't shed a tear. I love little babies so much.

"I don't really ever go out unless it is to the hairdresser's because I am wheelchair-bound. So to have so many guests was a treat. My neighbours have been so good to me."

Miss Dibbell said she did not know the secret for achieving a long life, but believed in caring for others.

She declared: "I don't feel like a 100-year-old. I have been very fortunate in many ways and have all my faculties.

"I am a Capricorn which means I have been good at managing my life. I was brought up to believe family is important."

Miss Dibbell moved to East Preston from Sutton Coldfield in the Midlands more than 20 years ago to look after her brother who had cancer and had lost his wife. Before that she looked after her parents for many years while working in an office in the Midlands.

She ended up staying in her bungalow on her own for 21 years.

Rustington Hall senior care assistant Cherry Jones said: "Elsie had the most fantastic party and was so regal and gracious all day. She thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

"We went up to her room in the morning and handed her the post. She was beaming across her face from then onwards. We were happy to help her celebrate because she is a pleasure to look after and be around.

"Elsie cares about people."

Miss Dibbell spent many years doing volunteer work for St Mary's Church in East Preston.