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Is 100-year-old Elsie from Hartlepool the oldest driver in Britain?

Denise Cutler, Extra Care Co-ordinator; Sandra Flounders, Housing Support Co-ordinator; Lillian Coleman, Elsie Grint and Winnier Oliver residents; Michelle Summersgill, Housing Support Team Leader.
Denise Cutler, Extra Care Co-ordinator; Sandra Flounders, Housing Support Co-ordinator; Lillian Coleman, Elsie Grint and Winnier Oliver residents; Michelle Summersgill, Housing Support Team Leader.

Active Elsie Grint has celebrated her 100th birthday in a double celebration at Hartlepool’s Bramley Court sheltered housing scheme.

Elsie, who turns 100 tomorrow, keeps busy by doing a variety of activities, can still touch her toes and has even had her driving licence extended for another three years.

Elsie Grint and Lillian Coleman.

Elsie Grint and Lillian Coleman.

Residents and staff marked Elsie’s milestone in a party which also celebrated 25 years since Bramley Court, run by housing group Thirteen, opened.

Elsie, a former nurse, including for the Red Cross, passed her driving test when she was 18.

She said: “In 1982, I also passed my advanced driving test and have driven all sorts of vehicles over the years, including a bus for a local school and double-decker buses when I was working with the Red Cross.

“These days, I go out in the car every single day – driving to the bowls, the keep fit class and going to meetings with Thirteen.

“Driving is still really important for me as it keeps me independent – I love to drive and it makes me very happy.”

Elsie retired from work as a nurse but carried on volunteering with the Red Cross who presented her with Honourary Life Membership in the 1990s.

She also rubbed shoulders with royalty as she met Princess Diana and the Duchess of Kent as a result her Red Cross work.

Elsie, who used to live in Waverley Terrace, Hartlepool, said: “I think the secret to a long life is keeping going, working hard and helping other people.

“I’ve led a busy and colourful life in a lot of ways and I still try to keep myself active even today.

“I do something every day like playing bowls, going to the bingo and doing exercise classes and I can prove I’m fitter than people 30 years younger than me by still being able to touch my toes!”

Elsie has two children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and one new-born great-great grandchild.

She has lived at Bramley Court for 14 years and represents residents as a member of the housing provider’s service and satisfaction customer panel.

Michelle Summersgill, housing support team leader at Thirteen, said: “It was great to see so many people celebrating both Bramley Court’s and Elsie’s birthday.

“Along with the other residents, I know that Elsie enjoys her time here and it was great to see everybody enjoying themselves at the party for such landmark birthdays.”