BIRTHDAY girl Agnes Durkin says the love of a large family has been the key to a long and happy life.
The pensioner marked her 102nd birthday at the weekend with a tea party surrounded by members of her big and close-knit family.
She is a proud mother of eight children, 27 grandchildren, 28 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
Daughter Margaret Walsh said: “She is a much loved mother, grandmother and great grandmother.
“She is visited regularly by her family and grandchildren. I think being part of a close-knit family has played a major role in her longevity.
“She likes nothing more than having her family around her and having plenty of company.”
Agnes, whose maiden name was Burns, was born in Seaham and moved to Horden when she was three where she has spent the majority of her life.
Agnes, who had eight siblings, left school at 14 and went to work for a while for a schoolmistress on a farm in the Yorkshire Dales.
She later returned to Horden where she worked as an usherette in the village’s Delux Cinema before family life took over.
When she was 21, Agnes married William Durkin at Our Lady Star of the Sea, in Horden, where she has been a member for many years.
The couple had nine children together, eight of whom survived.
She has three sons, John, Thomas, Joseph, and five daughters, Margaret Maureen Runswick, Anne Whittington, Veronica Hearty and Marie Carr.
“Family life took over and she devoted her life to them,” said Margaret.
“She loves to do crosswords and still has a very active mind.
“She is always interested in everything, especially her family, and likes to know what is going on.”
Agnes continued to live at home and cared for by her family until recently.
She is now being cared for at the Jack Dormand Care Home, in Horden.
Staff and family organised a tea party for her on Saturday to celebrate her birthday.
When Agnes was born in 1910, King George V came to the throne after succeeding his father Edward VII.
It was also the year that Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground opened.