IF people ask centenarian Dorothy Holdway how she has made it to such a grand age, she will say she simply does not know.
But with a knowing glance and a touch of humour, the family gathered to mark her milestone birthday will tell you it is all down to the brandy she has in her coffee every day.
“It’s just a drop, and only in winter,” the Burton woman said defensively, ahead of the big day tomorrow.
Mrs Holdway will be spending her big day with friends and family at Hoar Cross Nursing Home, where she moved just six months ago, after becoming unable to stay in her home in Ashford Road.
“I do well most of the time. 99 years I was at home and cooked my own meals and everything. I’ve not done so badly,” she told the Mail.
Burton born and bred, Mrs Holdway was the daughter of head master Albert Cumberland, who worked at a number of schools in the town.
The family lived in Belvedere Road and Swannington Street.
After finishing school, Mrs Holdway went to work for the East Midland Electricity Board. She worked there for 38 years, and helped to set up a retirement club when she left.
Away from work, she enjoyed gardening, knitting, reading and watching television.
She also loved to play cards and board games with the family.
She was married for a short time to Edward Holdway, but the pair had no children. She lived with his mother after the war.
Instead, she took on a brood of nieces and nephews, who affectionately call her ‘Auntie Dot’.
She always has sweets when the little ones – including her first great-great-great-niece – come to visit.
“I have been lucky. I couldn’t have children, but I had plenty of others and they have made up for it. They loved coming out with me when I was younger.
“My happiest times have been spent with the children,” she said.
Mrs Holdway said she ‘couldn’t believe’ she had made it to 100.
“I didn’t think I’d be here this long when I moved here. It seemed such a long way off,” she added.