07:11 Tuesday 24 December 2013

An extra merry Christmas as Lily marks the big 100


MANY people will wake up tomorrow morning excited for the festivities of the day – but one Burton resident will have an even better reason than most to celebrate.

Because when Lily West opens her eyes on Christmas Day, she will be doing so as a centenarian – and she couldn’t be happier about the fact.

“I think it’s lovely,” she told the Mail. “I never thought I would make it to 100. I’m very proud.”

Mrs West is a marvel for her age. She still lives independently in the Horninglow home she bought with her husband Jim more than 70 years ago, and only stopped doing her own shopping in recent months. She is an active member of both the Burton Blind and Partially-Sighted Club, and the Horninglow Darby and Joan Club. Until recently, she helped out with the running of the groups, despite being one of their oldest members.

She puts her longevity down to a happy life. “My life has been perfect. I have no worries; I’ve never had any grumbles,” she added.

A busy family life could also have something to do with it, as she is a doting matriarch to a large brood of four children, nine grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

Her daughter, Marlene Clay, said: “Everybody loves her because she treats everybody the same. There is no favouritism, and she always makes everybody welcome. She doesn’t argue, and she’s on everybody’s side when they argue.”

Diplomacy may have been a skill she picked up during her long marriage to childhood sweetheart Jim West. The pair met as neighbours, growing up on Carlton Street in Horninglow, and eventually married at Carlton Street Methodist Church in 1937.

They were happily married for 62 years, until Mr West died in 1999.

In her younger years, Mrs West worked at Boots Cafe, but left when she got married, and spent time helping her husband in the garden and looking after the home. In her spare time, Mrs West enjoyed knitting, and created clothes for her entire family – including swimming costumes. As she has aged, she has grown to enjoy playing cards, reading and watching TV.

The centenarian has already celebrated her birthday with a party at the Beacon Hotel, and will be spending her big day receiving visitors at home.

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