Incredible Ivy Wheeler is all set to celebrate her 109th Christmas - with a glass of sherry and a spin around the dance floor.
The determined 108-year-old, who must qualify as MK’s oldest resident, insists her secret to longevity is being content with what she has.
She celebrated her latest birthday this month with her friends at DEGA day club, which provides support for the elderly in and around her home town of Woburn Sands.
“We asked Ivy what she would like to do for her birthday. Imagine our surprise when she said she would love to dance!” said organiser Rachel Turner.
She said Ivy refuses to let her age get in the way of anything she wants to do, and loves to chat with other Dega members and join in with quizzes.
“She always enjoys her lunch - eating with great gusto and appreciation,” she said.
Ivy was born in 1910 in a house with no running water or electricity. She fondly remembers skipping to the village well at the age of five to collect water for her family. She also recalls taking the Sunday roast to the local bakers and waiting for it to be cooked before running back home with it before it got cold.
“The story that really brings home how much life has changed over her lifetime is when Ivy’s dad was ill she used to run to the local doctors to ask him for help. On several occasions he would mix some laudanum and send her back with a large bottle to give him! When the doctor did visit the house he always arrived on horse back,” said Rachel.
Ivy learned to drive at the age of 15, when there were no driving tests required. Very few women drove and she recalls having no headlights on her Ford Model T and mending a puncture by stuffing it with cut grass.
She worked for her grandmother transporting fruit and veg and clothes to the local market, which was where she met her late husband Dick who she was “crazy about”.
The couple bought their first house when they were 60 and then emigrated to Australia at the age of 70 to be near their son Ivor. After Dick died, Ivy returned to England to be near her daughters Mary and Gilliam.
A mum of three, Ivy’s advice to the younger generation is: “Think twice before you do anything, be interested in other people and always have a meal on the table when your husband gets home from work!”