You might think the secret to a long life would involve eating healthily and daily exercise, but according to one woman who’s just celebrated her 108th birthday, the key is actually quaffing champagne.
Dorothy Flowers was overjoyed to receive a staggering 654 cards on her recent birthday after care home staff appealed to well wishers to send her one for every year of her life.
The birthday girl, who has put down her longevity down to champagne and following horse racing, celebrated her milestone birthday on Tuesday, where she was given extra special treatment.
Staff at the Bupa-owned Southlands Care Home, Harrogate, N Yorks were astounded by the response to their birthday appeal with cards arriving from as far afield as Almeria in southern Spain, Bangkok, Las Vegas, New York and Australia.
Dorothy also received a gift from Harrogate's famous Bettys tearooms saying: “From one centenarian to another”.
Hoping the pensioner would live to enjoy many more birthdays she also received multiple bottles of champagne, the drink she credits for helping her live such a long life.
Explaining Dorothy’s long-living secrets resident manager Helene Ballinger said: “Dorothy loves company, so she’ll sit with us at the reception desk each day.
“She’s such a regular that she’s got her own drawer, which we keep full of chocolate buttons.
“Her real secret for longevity though has to be champagne.
“It’s the only thing we ever see her finish a glass of.
“Needless to say, we’ve been toasting her birthday.” she added.
Dorothy was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, on October 22 1911.
Her parents, Frank and Fanny Wingatewere, were publicans and she grew up in the city with her younger brother, Norman.
Having left the Leeds Girls Modern School at 14 to pursue a career as an accountant, she met her husband-to-be, fellow accountant Leonard, and went on to join him in working for the Racecourse Betting Control Board – commonly known as The Tote.
The couple married in the early 1940s.
Though the pair were married for nearly 40 years, until Leonard passed away in 1981, they never had children.
Instead, Dorothy remains close with her niece, Judith Barrett, who still visits her regularly today and in 1995, Dorothy moved to be near her in Harrogate.
Speaking about the cards her aunt received, Judith said: “It’s the small gestures that can make a big difference. We never dreamt that my aunt would receive so many cards.
“While she’s not able speak any more, the smile on her face said it all. It was a wonderful surprise and has helped make her day so special.
"While she’s very independent, she’s always been happiest when surrounded by others, and the cards have made her feel very loved.”
Dorothy isn’t the only 100+-year-old who has recently revealed their secrets to a longer life.
Earlier this year, 107-year-old Louise Signore, cited not getting married as the reason she’s enjoyed such a long life.
“What's the best part of being 107?" she told a reporter from the ABC7 station. "Not getting married.”
Born in Birmingham, the sisters moved to Tipton as children and have lived opposite each other ever since.
According to their Facebook profile, the sisters enjoy trips to the bingo, shopping, going out for meals and the theatre.
Doris was happily married for 65 years and did not have any children while sister Lillian has five grown-up children, 13 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren in total.