A Pontllanfraith woman will be expecting a letter from the Queen today as she celebrates her 100th birthday with family and friends.

Mary Evelyn Jones, formerly of Elim Way, will be celebrating her birthday in Glan-yr-Afon nursing home in Fleur-de-Lys.

Mrs Jones was born in Tredegar, but moved to Pontllanfraith at 14 and lived there for more than 83 years.

She worked in the Square Cafe in Blackwood for many years before meeting her husband, Haydn Lester Jones, and the couple were married for almost 56 years until Mr Jones's death.

Her daughter, Hilary Thomas, 67, said: "She is a brilliant woman, a really lovely lady. I can't believe she is going to be 100. She doesn't look it at all, she has beautiful skin, she always has.

"She only moved into the care home five years ago, and she was still doing the gardening and cleaning at her house well into her nineties. We used to tell her to relax, but she would always say she couldn't just sit around!"

Mrs Thomas's brother, Dr John Jones, and his daughter Meredith Joppa, are travelling from their home in America to see their mother and grandmother on her big day.

They will join the rest of the family at a small party at the care home.

Arlene Testa, manager of Glan-yr-Afon nursing home, said: "Mary's the kind of lady who always has the most beautiful smile on her face, she never changes. From the moment she wakes up in the morning, she opens her eyes and gives you a great big beam.

"She's been very poorly this year, so everybody here is so happy she's made it to this massive milestone. We all absolutely adore her."