Pork scratchings are the key to a long life, according to 100-year-old Lily Welch.
In her ten decades, Lily has never indulged in drinking or smoking, but she says her one vice is a bag of pork scratchings a day as she reached the grand age of 100 yesterday.
The great-grandmother from Hetton celebrated the milestone birthday in style with two parties.
As well as receiving a card from the Queen, the mum-of-one marked becoming a centenarian with a family get together at The Three Horseshoes in Leamside on Sunday.
And to mark the big day itself, on November 20, she was greeted with a surprise party at the community centre in Princess Gardens, Hetton.
Lily lives independently, but visits the centre twice a week for bingo sessions, where she’s a popular member of the community.
Daughter-in-law Sheila, 73, who is married to Lily’s son Bobby, 76, said: “She’s had some lovely surprises with not one, but two parties, and she didn’t suspect a thing.
“They really spoiled her at The Three Horseshoes where we had a lovely lunch with the family, then she had the party the following day at Princess Gardens. She still lives on her own and doesn’t have carers, but we all live nearby so are always there for her.
“She doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, but she has to have her bag of pork scratchings a day.”
Lily was born on November 20, 1917 in Caroline Gardens, Hetton, and has always remained close to her birthplace.
After attending Eppleton School, she helped raise her five brothers in the town before marrying Bob Welch in 1941 who passed away just before the couple’s diamond wedding anniversary in 2001.
Lily said: “I’ve seen lots of changes over the years in Hetton, some not for the better, but it’s still a community and I like having my family around me. I’ve been a council tenant for 66 years. I have my routine every day and I’ve always read the Echo each day, I especially like reading Andy Capp.”
Lily has two grand sons, Darren, 45, and Lee, 41, and is great grandmother to Abby, 18, Eve, 17, Adam, 12 and Davina, eight.