HARD work, plain living – and a good session on the dancefloor – are the secrets to a long and happy life, according to Milford Haven’s latest centenarian Ivy Thomas.
Celebrating her birthday with four generations of her family on Tuesday (March 25), Mrs Thomas was visited by Milford Haven Mayor Cllr Yvonne Southwell, who congratulated her on ‘looking great’ at 100.
Born in Clunderwen, she was one of seven children, and has happy memories of her early years.
Every summer, the family would ‘get in the back of a lorry’ with the family of a local mason, and take a trip to Tenby beach.
“I can still see my mother, cutting bread for us all on the beach,” she said. "We didn't take sandwiches back then."
Her clearest memory is of her father coming home on leave from the Army, and always bringing biscuits home for the children.
“It’s funny what sticks in your memory,” she said.
After having three children - Huw, Diane and Roy – Clunderwen’s first ever carnival queen and her husband, Fred moved to Whitland, where they opened a second barbershop.
But after her husband’s death in 1965, Mrs Thomas moved to Milford Haven, to be nearer children and grandchildren.
Describing herself as “very independent”, Mrs Thomas has never let age stand in her way.
From ballroom dancing until she was 87, to visiting the fjords of Norway aged 92, and flying in a helicopter aged 98, this great great grandmother says she has “lived a very full life”.
On top of working, over the years she has enjoyed many hobbies, from knitting and baking to decoupage and embroidery, and still gets her hands dirty tending to the shrubs and borders in her garden.
“I’ve lived an interesting life on the whole, and tried a bit of everything,” she said.