A centenarian who has never been a drinker or smoker believes that is the reason she has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Mary Stafford, of New Road, Whitehaven was surrounded by staff from Bellcare, her daughter Susan Charlton and her grandson Luke as she marked her big day with a small party at her home.

Colourful flowers, balloons and cards bearing kind messages filled Mary’s living room and showed her popularity.

She was also delighted to have received a card from the Queen and a telegram from Amber Rudd, the secretary of state for work and pensions, wishing her well on the special occasion.

Asked for what the secret is to a long and healthy life, Mary said: “I wouldn’t know. Good living!”

She has never smoked or drunk alcohol and has been a hard-worker all her life who was able to continue her career into her 70s, looking after others as a carer.

Susan said: “She is a quiet woman who has always kept herself to herself, but you can see how popular she is from the cards.”

Originally from Moor Row, Mary attended the junior school there before leaving to start work in the Meadow View laundrette.

During the Second World War she started to work in the NAAFI cafe at Carlisle, supporting the troops on active service to play her own part in the war effort while the conflict raged across Europe.

Mary’s kindness and work ethic was also displayed by the fact that she held down three jobs to make ends meet and put food on the table while raising her son, George McIntosh.

For many years she was a carer, looking after West Cumbrians in their homes and providing them with comfort.

Mary married Leslie Stafford, who died 23 years ago, and has five grandsons and a great-grandson.

She has been a New Road resident for 35 years and before that lived in her daughter’s house on Kirkstone Road.

Bellcare staff visit Mary four times a day to make sure she has everything she needs.

Manager Debbie Ellwood said: “She is a quiet woman but she does love a giggle.

“She looks forward to the carers coming and she is a pleasure to look after.”