Newport woman marks 100th birthday with whisky and dancing

First published in News

A NEWPORT woman spent her 100th birthday singing Frank Sinatra songs, dancing and having a few glasses of Scotch whisky.

Lily Dowden puts her longevity down to staying active and simgs at her local church every Sunday as well as having a glass of whisky every night.

She celebrated a century on Friday at Blaen-y-Pant care home, Malpas, with family and friends, where she sang along to 50s and 60s songs, had a few drinks and even got up for a dance.

Mrs Dowden was a champion pole-vaulter in her younger days and now attends Malpas Road Evangelic Church every Sunday, plays bingo, enjoys reading and keeps up with the gossip through her daily intake of soap operas.

Mrs Dowden was born at 15 Oakley Street, Newport - in the year the Titanic sank - and lived through two World Wars. She was a housewife during the second when her late husband, Charles Henry Dowden was a police officer in the city.

Mrs Dowden, the last of 12 children, began working at 13, when she made faggots and peas at a cafe in Newport Market and later worked as a carer.

She says another secret of her longevity was the regular walks she used to take along the sea wall to the lighthouse at Goldcliff - with a couple of pints of Guinness en-route.

While she has lived at Blaen-y-Pant for eight years, Mrs Dowden did the daily shopping for friends and neighbours until her early 90s.

She has one daughter, Patricia Jones, four grandchildren Mitchel Jones, 45, Georgina Brown, 42, Clair Gough, 35 and David Jones, 32, as well as eight great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

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