‘PLENTY of grub’ and no smoking – that’s the secret to a long and healthy life, according to 101-year-old birthday girl Betty Luke.
On Wednesday (March 12), Betty had a surprise visit from Mayor of Milford Haven Cllr Yvonne Southwell, who presented her with a bouquet of flowers from the town council and spent the morning with her, hearing a little of Betty’s life story.
Originally from the Rhondda Valley, Betty moved to Hakin as a teenager, and worked until her 80s running a general store in Point Street.
“I’m proof that hard work doesn’t kill you,” said Betty.
The daughter of a butcher and a former nurse, middle child Betty had two sisters and three brothers.
She married George Luke, and had one son John, who died in 2011.
Her own father sadly passed away in his 50s, but Betty’s mother Sarah Jean lived until she was in her 90s. Betty said everyone one her mothers’ side lived until old age, and puts her longevity down to “good genes”.
She said her mother was an excellent dressmaker and cook – which may be where Betty’s love of food came from.
“She was a marvellous woman, and could make a meal out of anything,” said Betty.
Although Betty doesn’t do much cooking herself these days, she still enjoys going out for a Sunday roast.
“What’s better than a leg of chicken and some boiled potatoes, or maybe a nice steak?” she said.
During the Second World War, Betty was in charge of dishing out rations of sugar, butter, cheese and other essentials at the local shop.
She remembers that there were so many coupons coming in, she once went to sleep on a big pile of them.
But despite hard times, Betty said she never felt she was ‘going without’.
“I loved picking runner beans and digging up potatoes from the garden, or going in to the greenhouse to pick some tomatoes.”
And, Betty was never short of fish either – with fishermen and sailors from all over the world popping in to her shop while they were docked in Milford Haven.
Mayor Cllr Southwell said it was great to hear stories about such a different time, and congratuled Betty on still looking “amazing” at 101 years old.
“I’ve had a wonderful life,” said Betty.
Thanking the Mayor for her gift, she added: “It’s good getting old because you get spoiled.”