‘House-proud’ Elsie says hard work is the key to her longevity.

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A NORTH Devon woman has celebrated the turning of a century as she enjoyed her 100th birthday on Monday.

Elsie Ball, who lives at Sandhurst Care Home in Bideford, received dozens of cards including a very special telegram from the Queen on her big day.

When asked the secret of her longevity, Mrs Ball had a simple answer: “Plenty of hard work and worry.

“I always ate well and looked after myself, but I never thought I would get to 100.”

Mrs Ball spent the morning with her two daughters before a surprise party at the Riversford Hotel.

Born in Langtree on Auguts 6, 1912, she later lived in Barnstaple before moving to Bideford where she has lived for more than half a century.

She was one of four children born to Beatrice and George Stoneman, along with siblings Gladys, Lillian and Ronald.

Sadly she did not get to know her father too well, as he was killed in conflict during the First World War.

Mrs Ball married her first husband Ivor Squire who fathered her two daughters Vivienne Glover and Wendy Davies.

Mrs Glover said: “She was always fiercely house-proud, and took care of herself up until she was 97 and came to live at Sandhurst.

“She never had an electric iron or washing machine, and was at her happiest with a brush and duster in her hand.”

Mrs Ball parted ways with her first husband and remarried Bert Ball in 1971.

They enjoyed more than 25 years of marriage before Bert sadly died 15 years ago.

“I think she has always been a bit lost since he passed away,” added her other daughter Vivienne.

Mrs Ball was particularly surprised when she received a telegram from the Queen.

“I never expected I would actually get one,” she said.

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