Full of life at the grand old age of 107, Olive Ashley welcomed the mayor of Dunstable to her birthday party at the Salvation Army Centre .
Councillor John Chatterley and his wife Ann led the celebrations on Thursday in honour of Dunstable’s oldest resident.
Upon entering the room to see her friends and neighbours gathered to wish her happy birthday, Olive threw her hands in the air and asked, “How is everybody?”
Born on September 16, 1906, Olive has lived throughfive monarchs and two World Wars.
She has become a minor celebrity in Dunstable, the town she moved to from London in 1991.
She said: “I never asked for any of this but it’s very nice.
“I suppose my secret is never drinking alcohol – not even champagne at weddings.
“I’ve never smoked either, I can’t stand smoke.”
Olive worked as a florist before retiring in 1969, and also made aircraft parts for two-and-a-half years during the Second World War.
However, her most-valued time has been spent with the Church and Salvation Army. “My whole life has been about God,” she said.
The oldest of seven – with two brothers and four sisters – Olive also attributed her impressive longevity to a wholesome upbringing and family values.
She said: “As a child we always had regular meals and started the day with a proper breakfast.
“I think television has had an effect these days.
“Children sit down on the floor to watch television instead of at the table for proper family meals.
“My mother was always there for us. Nowadays you see families that have lost their love for one another – that’s one of the worst things that can happen.”
Mr Chatterley was impressed with Olive’s youthful spirit.
He said: “She’s an amazing lady. She has such a great personality.
“Olive and I spoke about cricket – our fathers both played at Alexandra Palace.”
Mr Chatterley gave a speech and conducted the room in hearty renditions of Happy Birthday To You and For She’s A Jolly Good Fellow.