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Irene has secret of long life figured out
Friday, 10 August 2012
Celebration time: Irene Mills turned 100 this week
A DEVOTED grandmother and champion ballroom dancer celebrated her 100th birthday by inviting friends and relatives to an afternoon tea.
Irene Mills marked the milestone on Tuesday
at the Jesus Hospital Charity building, in Union Street, High Barnet, whose almshouse in Grasvenor Avenue she has called home for 12 years.
Joined by her close family, fellow residents and Barnet mayor Brian Schama, Irene enjoyed tea and cake before blowing out her candles.
Born in High Barnet on August 8, 1912, Irene spent much of her youth indulging her passion for ballroom dancing, winning several local competitions.
Her gift for number crunching led her to the accounts department of the National Pharmaceutical Union, where she worked until retiring in 1965.
Keen for a challenge the grandmother-of-two would always try to work out the figures in her head before writing them down.
On the secret of her longevity, the centenarian said never learning to drive had ensured she always got a lot of exercise.
“I used to walk and walk,” she told The Press. “Sometimes I would take off in the morning and get on the first bus that came along, stay on as far as it would go and wander round wherever I found myself.”
Until she was 90, Irene was also kept busy taking care of her grandchildren – and her family said they felt very lucky to still have her in their lives. “It’s the best thing for the grandkids,” said her daughter Lynda Hand. “She is the top of the tree as far as they are concerned.”
Jesus Hospital provides almshouse accommodation to older single women in Barnet.
Chairwoman Brenda Sandford said: “Irene has been here for a long time and was very active until just recently. She is lovely.”
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