Nellie, 104, praises late-night whisky for long life

Edith McCarthy(104) pictured at her Manor home with her grandaughter Lesley Day(left) and daughter Margaret Colledge.
Edith McCarthy(104) pictured at her Manor home with her grandaughter Lesley Day(left) and daughter Margaret Colledge.
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HER life spans more than a century of Sheffield history - and at the age of 104 she’s still going strong!

Edith Ellen McCarthy, nicknamed Nellie, was born and bred in Sheffield and has never left the city.

Despite being in her 11th decade she lives independently at her home near the Manor Top.

During her life Nellie has held a variety of jobs from barmaid to window cleaner, and even spent time working in a button-making factory.

Her daughter Margaret Colledge, aged 71, said her “friendly and outgoing” mum is looking forward to celebrating her impressive anniversary - and revealed the secret to her longevity is “hard work and a tot of whisky every night”.

Nellie was born in Grimesthorpe and attended Grimesthorpe School - now Whiteways Primary. She left school aged 14 and went into service working for a wealthy family in Pitsmoor.

“She worked as a scullery maid and things like that,” said Margaret. In those days everybody worked in service for these big families, it was like Upstairs Downstairs.”

Nellie is the second eldest, and last surviving, of five brothers and sisters, including Gertrude, Hilda, Violet and David. After leaving service she took on a job as a barmaid at the Horse and Jockey pub in Attercliffe, where she met her husband Jim, a customer at the bar.

Jim worked for steel firm Edgar Allen for over 30 years and died in 1953 of silicosis - a lung disease caused by inhalation of silica dust.

The couple married in 1933 at St Joseph’s Church in Handsworth and had two children, Margaret and her brother David, who passed away in 2002.

“She worked at Singleton’s button factory and was also a window cleaner at Edgar Allen’s,” said Margaret. “She also cleaned in nursing homes, children’s homes and pubs. She loves singing too, my mum and dad used to go to nursing homes singing as a musical act and telling jokes. Delaney’s Donkey is her favourite song. She likes company, she’s always had family around her.”

The family are celebrating with a mass at 10.30am on May 8 in St Theresa’s Church, Darnall, followed by a party in the church hall which Lord Mayor Coun Alan Law is set to attend.