A FARNBOROUGH woman was the centre of attention last week when she spent the day with relatives celebrating her 103rd birthday.

Esther Theaker is an active and popular figure at the Randell House Residential Home, in Blackwater, where she particularly enjoys playing bingo.

Failing sight and poor health do not deter her from attending the local club for the blind or getting involved in outdoor activities.

So what is her secret to longevity?

Miss Theaker said: "A good sherry, a sense of humour, faith in your God and the ability to enjoy life and all it brings."

Miss Theaker spent many of her younger years in Ndola, Northern Rhodesia, where she worked as a volunteer with the British Red Cross.

She rose to the rank of Assistant Commandant and in 1963 received an award from the wife of the Governor of Rhodesia, Lady Home, for her dedication and service.

Among her favourite memories are those of Africa and a happy childhood playing badminton and tennis with her family.

Janet Young, head of Randell House, said: "Miss Theaker is not only one of our oldest residents, but certainly one of the liveliest. There are days when it is hard to keep up with her.

"She always has a cheery smile and it is both a privilege and a pleasure to care for her."