Birthday girl Eleanor Rowland has celebrated becoming a centenarian with a surprise gathering of family and friends - and a little dance.
The 100-year-old from Horden had no idea when she was taken for an afternoon visit to Easington Welfare Hall, that she would be greeted by relatives who had travelled from across the country to join the great-grandmother in marking her milestone event.
She is still very independent and still gets out and aboutAudrey Cleary
The sprightly centenarian who still lives in her own bungalow in Horden even hit the dance floor on Saturday to show she still has it.
Born in Boldon Colliery, South Tyneside, her family moved to Doncaster for work when she was 10, returning back to Boldon Colliery five years later.
Eleanor was the second oldest of two sisters and a brother and during late teens she worked as a domestic.
It was then she met her husband, Redvers Stavordale Rowland who worked as a deputy at Horden Colliery, and the couple married in 1936 at St Mary’s Church in Horden - the village where they settled.
They went on to have five children, Thomas, Audrey, Carol, Alan and Dawn.
Her daughter Audrey Cleary said: “She had no idea what we had planned for her. She knew something was happening, but didn’t know what, but she took it all in her stride.
“We had family travelling from across the country to see her and she did her best to remember everyone. It really was a good day.
“Up until last year she has been attending the tea dances in the club and will be going back. She even had a little dance at her party. She is still very independent and still gets out and about.”
Eleanor who has been a widow since 1986, said her secret to a long life was “hard work and staying active.”
Mrs Cleary added: “Back then people didn’t have things easy. They didn’t have all these mod cons. She has always stayed active and is a keen walker and loves to dance.”
Eleanor celebrated her birthday on Sunday and has 12 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.