Hartlepool great-grandmother Minnie reveals the secret of long life after turning 101

101-year-old Minnie Nichol, of Rossmere Park Care Centre, with daughter Dorothy Robinson and her husband Eric and granddaughter Wendy Horsley.
101-year-old Minnie Nichol, of Rossmere Park Care Centre, with daughter Dorothy Robinson and her husband Eric and granddaughter Wendy Horsley.

When Hartlepool great-grandmother Minnie Nicol was born the First World War was still raging and the average price of a house was £195.

Minnie, who has lived through 19 different Prime Ministers, celebrated her 101st birthday yesterday surrounded by family and friends at Rossmere Park Care Centre.

Minnie Nicol as a young woman.

Minnie Nicol as a young woman.

She was showered with gifts and cards, and staff at the care home laid on a special quiz, cake and party.

Minnie puts her longevity down to a healthy lifestyle.

She said: “I’ve never drank and I’ve never smoked.”

And she joked: “And I’ve never been kissed!”

Born in Seaton Carew in 1917, Minnie, nee Carrick, has three surviving children, nine grandchildren and is a great-grandmother several times over.

Her daughter Dorothy Robinson said: “She is doing pretty good for 101.

“She is not able to walk about now, but in herself she is pretty well.

“When she first left school she delivered milk in Seaton when she was 14 years old.

“Then she went into service until she married.”

Minnie married James Nicol when she was 19. They had four children; Dorothy, Stephen, Keith and Jean who sadly died when she was just six while James was fighting in Burma in the Second World War.

After marrying Minnie worked as a home help until she retired.

She has been a widow for more than 30 years since James died aged 69.

Minnie moved into Rossmere Park just last month after relocating from Heriot Grange sheltered accommodation nearby.

To mark the occasion staff decorated the lounge with balloons and bunting.

Beverley Weed, the home’s activities coordinator, said: “In the time she has been here she has really enjoyed settling in and she is such a lovely lady.

“Although she can’t see very well she still likes her puzzles and cross words and joining in with all the games.

“She also likes listening to her favourite radio station Smooth.

“I think Minnie is absolutely marvellous for 101.

“All the care staff just love her.”

She also gets to see her granddaughter Wendy Horsley every day who works on reception at Rossmere Park.

Last year, Minnie asked for donations to be made to Macmillan in her name instead of presents.