LOUISA Shephard has lived through two world wars, dozens of prime ministers and even remembers a time before passenger air travel was even invented to become Wales' oldest woman.

The 111-year-old from Blaenavon celebrated the milestone birthday on Monday and is one of the oldest people in the UK.

The great-great-grandmother was born in 1898 before women won the right to vote, when Queen Victoria was on the throne.

She celebrated her big day with family and friends at a party at Arthur Jenkins Nursing Home in Blaenavon where she now lives.

Daughter Rita Pearce, 71, says she does not know the secret to her mother’s longevity but thinks it could be due to her fondness for spending a lot of time with family and friends.

A former housekeeper, Mrs Shephard gave up work to become a housewife in 1930 when she married her late husband Harold.

He died in 1978, aged 79. The couple had four daughters Maida, 77, Eileen, 76, Doreen, 74 and Rita 71.

Mrs Shephard, who has always lived in Garn-yr-Erw, Blaenavon, has ten grandchildren, two who are deceased, 17 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

The only time she spent away from Blaenavon was a short period spent working as a housekeeper in Pontarddulais to help raise her six brothers and one sister.

Youngest daughter Mrs Pearce said: “The whole family is amazed she has reached such a remarkable age. She’s getting quite frail now but she’s still going strong.

“She’s always been a really outgoing person and has lived through so much.”

Mrs Pearce said her mum loves reminiscing about the past and can recall events that happened more than 30 years ago.

When Mrs Shephard was younger she was a member of a local choir in Blaenavon and still enjoys music and singing.

Mrs Shephard this year received her eighth message from the queen, a basket of flowers from the Mayor of Torfaen Robert Jones, a letter from MP Paul Murphy and a message from the Welsh Assembly.

1898 - the year Louisa Shephard was born

  • Conservative Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, the Marquess of Sailsbury, is prime minister.
  • February 13 - Henry Lindfield of Brighton, England, becomes the first person in the UK to die in a car accident.
  • February 15 - The Spanish-American war begins after the USS Marine is sunk in Havana harbour killing 266 men. The conflict ends with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in August the same year.
  • June 17 - Harry Patch, the last surviving British world war one veteran, is born. He died on June 25 2009.
  • August 28 - Inventor Caleb Bradham names his soft drink Pepsi-Cola.
  • September 2 - Britain becomes the ruling power in Sudan following the Battle of Omdurman.
  • December 26 - Marie and Pierre Curie announce they have discovered radium.