Peggy marks her 103rd birthday with champagne and classic car trip

Peggy Byford celebrates her 103rd birthday at Alderwood Care Home with her grandson Karl McAllister,

Peggy Byford celebrates her 103rd birthday at Alderwood Care Home with her grandson Karl McAllister, daughter Ann McAllister and son Barry Byford. - Credit: Su Anderson

A woman celebrating her 103rd birthday yesterday revealed the secret to a long life is good food, walks, and the occasional glass of sherry.

Ruby Byford, better known as Peggy, marked the occasion with a meal out with family, ferried in a classic car, before having a party at the Alderwood Care Home, in Colchester, where she has lived since shortly after she reached a century.

The party included old time classic songs which got care home residents all singing along.

Commenting on the occasion Peggy said: “It has been a lovely day.”

Staff at the care home say Peggy is a wonderful resident who enjoys walks through the gardens and still helps with the washing up.

Nikki Leaney, care home manager, said: “She is looking after everyone else all of the time, she is the sweetest old lady going.

“Peggy is such an inspiration because she finds happiness in the little things like the flowers in the garden.”

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One thing everyone who knows Peggy says is that she loves her food and “eats for England” – which may be the secret to her longevity, along with the occasional glass of wine.

Son Barry said until recently his mother used to enjoy a glass of sherry every day, while champagne was a must for the birthday celebrations.

Born in 1912 in Tendring district close to Clacton she left her local school at 14 to work as a nanny in the town, before moving to Colchester after marrying her husband Edward in her 20s.

There the couple ran a small bakery and cafe called Byford’s, in Lexden, and later added in a shop.

Peggy switched to working in a local pharmacy after Edward’s death more than 40 years ago, and remained at her home in Lexden until May 2013.

She has two children, Barry and Ann, five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

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