A NEWPORT woman, hailed a national treasure for her dedication to local charities and Tredegar House, celebrated her centenary with family on Sunday.

Mary Courtney, MBE, of Sandpiper Way, Duffryn, marked the occasion with 16 family members at the Park Golf Club, Newport and was overwhelmed when granddaughter Lindy Marass who travelled from Italy with her children Thomas and Kelly made a surprise appearance.

Born in Cardigan, she spent most of her life in Newport working as a nurse at St Woolos Hospital and Pontypool Hospital, where she met her late husband Leslie Courtney, whom she married in 1936 and went on to have four children.

She received an MBE at Buckingham Palace in 1996 for her work with charities over 25 years. Her roll of honour includes: A past chairman and president of the Autistic Society; Delivering meals on wheels with the WRVS; Working with Oxfam for 25 years; Being honoured by the NSPCC and the Royal British Legion for her charity work; Becoming a life member of mental health charity MIND.

She worked tirelessly raising thousands of pounds for organisations such as the Red Cross and is a stalwart member of St Thomas’ Church, Maesglas.

The former Newport councillor remained active into her 90s, helping out Oxfam on Cross Street and working four hours a day during holidays as a tour guide at Tredegar House and was believed to be the oldest tour guide in Wales at the time.

The great-grandmother of-seven says she owes her good heath to keeping active and smiling. "A smile makes the world go around," she said.

Daughter Ruth Knight said: "She is still playing skittles, enjoys scrabble and is keeping active as much as she can."