Barnstaple woman who's lived through both World Wars and Spanish Flu celebrates 106th birthday

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A woman in Devon has celebrated her 106th birthday, surrounded by three generations of her family.

Vera Crisp has lived through both world wars, the Spanish Flu and now the coronavirus pandemic, but is still enjoying life at Fremington Manor Care Home in Barnstaple.

She marked the special occasion with a performance from the town's brass band and visits from some of her five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

The family also enjoyed a birthday meal of fish and chips.

Asked how it feels to turn 106, Vera said: "How does it feel? It doesn't feel very different, actually."

The town's brass band played for Vera as part of her birthday celebrations.

'Pretty indestructible'

The great-grandmother was born at The Lamb Inn in Highbridge in April 1916, which her grandparents owned.

She later married her husband, Sidney, at the start of the Second World War.

Born in 1916, Vera married her husband in London at the start of the Second World War. Credit: Family handout

Describing her life, Vera's eldest daughter Pat Newman said: "She was born in the First World War, she then suffered with the Spanish Flu, and then it was World War Two, and now she's just survived the covid epidemic."

"So, yep, mum's pretty indestructible. And I think it's the point of having a long life, she actually has learned to deal with any situation."

Three years ago, Vera was told she would have three months to live by a doctor, after she got a chest infection - but she is still going strong and has largely shaken it off.

But perhaps it is Vera's commitment to being teetotal that has proved to be her secret to long life.

Vera also received another birthday card from Queen Elizabeth II.

Her grandson, Jim, said the birthday celebration gave her family a chance to see her for the first time in months.

"I haven't seen much of her in the last two years, with the lockdown care home rules, and my kids haven't seen her for basically the whole of the two years," he said.

"So, be able to come here, spend the day with her, have the local band playing, which have always played such a big part in our lives anyway, we've had a fantastic day, really," he added.

Among other well-wishers was the Queen, sending Vera another royal card to add to her collection.