'Party animal' celebrates 108th birthday in Sheffield

Vera was born in the middle of the road in Blackpool after her mother went into labour unexpectedly on holiday
Vera was born in the middle of the road in Blackpool after her mother went into labour unexpectedly on holiday
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A 'party animal' who is today celebrating her 108th birthday in Sheffield says she's always been 'too busy' to take any notice of her age.

Vera Greenwood, who enjoys a tipple and drank so much aged 99 that she passed out before seeing in the new year, is living proof that the old adage 'live fast, die young' doesn't always apply.

Vera with her niece Angie, great-niece Nicky, great-great niece Eloise and great-great-nephew Jasper

Vera with her niece Angie, great-niece Nicky, great-great niece Eloise and great-great-nephew Jasper

She was joined by family and friends who helped her mark the big day in style at Darwin House, a residential care home on Darwin Lane, in Crosspool.

As they raised a glass to the formidable woman, she quipped: "I've never taken notice of age. I've always been too busy."

Vera was born in the middle of the road in Blackpool on September 1, 1909, after her mother unexpectedly went into labour while on holiday.

The former secretary lived for most of her life in Bradford with her late husband Jeffrey.

Vera with her latest card from the Queen

Vera with her latest card from the Queen

She moved to Sheffield 23 years ago, after her younger sister Marie had a stroke - honouring a pact that if either became unwell the other would care for her.

She lived with Marie in a bungalow in Ecclesall before relocating after her sister's death to Millhouses, where she lived independently until moving into her current home aged 105.

She never had any children but has nearly 20 great-great-nieces and nephews, some of whom joined her for her birthday.

Vera's niece Angie Peel said: "She's always been a party animal. She actually passed out when she was 99 because she'd been toasting the new year since 6pm, and she would never go without her evening glass of sherry."

Vera as a younger woman

Vera as a younger woman

Asked about the secret to Vera's longevity, Angie said her aunt had taken cod liver oil daily until recently but adamantly refused to take any medication. She also joked that not having had any children probably helped.

Angie added that Vera, who was mad about snooker and a big crossword fan, had worked hard but always knew how to have a good time and remained very strong-willed.

"Vera's always been feisty and fiercely independent. Even now she tells me she's better so she can go back to living on her own," she said.

Vera is the country's 95th oldest living person, according to the 'Oldest People in Britain' website.

Her family believed until recently she was the oldest Sheffielder but that honour is now thought to belong to Ethel Chapman, who lives in Lowedges and turned 108 in May.

Bessie Camm, of Rotherham, is thought to be the oldest living Briton, having celebrated her 113th birthday in June.