Gertrude, 103, says secret to long life is a tot of whisky a day

Gertrude Bowden celebrates her 103rd birthday at Bramble Hollow care home where she lives.
Gertrude Bowden celebrates her 103rd birthday at Bramble Hollow care home where she lives.
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Gertrude Bowden has turned 103 – and says the secret to a long life is a tot of whisky a day!

The loving great-great-grandmother celebrated her milestone birthday with her family and friends at Bramble House sheltered accommodation, in Hetton, where she now lives.

Getrude Bowden celebrates her 103rd birthday surrounded by her family at Bramble Hollow care home where she lives.

Getrude Bowden celebrates her 103rd birthday surrounded by her family at Bramble Hollow care home where she lives.

Mrs Bowden, who worked for years as a nurse maid, was born in Sunderland in 1913 and lived in the same house in East Rainton for 73 years, until a broken hip saw her move into the care home.

With late husband William, she had six children, 12 grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren, and 11 great-great-grandchildren, with number 12 on the way.

Granddaughter Susan Gillespie, from Durham, said: “She’s always been a very independent lady and does everything for herself, but after she fell and broke her hip last year, it was difficult for her to be in the house on her own and she had to move into the home. She never had any carers or anything before that, she’s always looked after herself.

“She’s always been a very hard worker, and if you ask her what the secret to living so long is she’ll tell you it’s a tot of whisky a day.

“She puts it down to my grandad, but he died 31 years ago and she’s done it every day since.”

She added: “She’s really placid and very supportive of the whole family and we all just love her to bits.

“She always listens to everything we have to say and never likes to overshadow anyone.

“She’s always kept herself busy with crafts and hobbies, like sewing and baking.

“Everyone got together at Bramble Hollow to celebrate her birthday and it was lovely to have everyone together for her.”

Mrs Bowden, who celebrated her birthday on July 10, has been an active member of the Hetton branch of Age Concern and the Cameo Club at Bethany Christian Church, in Houghton, over the years and still does her keep fit classes three times a week.

Ms Gillespie added: “She’s still very active and does her keep fit classes.

“She always says she doesn’t like a fuss and even said it at the party, but she loves it really.”