WALKING has kept centenarian Gwen Matthews fit and young at heart, says her daughter.

The much-loved great-gran celebrated her 100th birthday at a surprise party with her family at the Cosy Tea Room in The Gate.

Her daughter Joyce Pears, 71, from Winsford, said: "Mum has always been very independent and active. She is not on any medication and never has been.

"We never had a car when we were young so mum cycled or walked everywhere. Until she was 94, she used to walk our alsatian Sophie through the estate.

Winsford Guardian:

"She lived with us for 16 years and was always doing all sorts of jobs in the house, climbing up doing the windows!"

Gwen flew on Concorde to celebrate her 80th birthday and was treated to a trip on the Orient Express and the Royal Yacht Britannia when she reached 90.

"I suggested she went abseiling for her 100th birthday but she said she doesn't like heights!" said Joyce. "She is amazing for her age. Even now she refuses to have a walking stick or a frame. She still walks about, dresses and feeds herself and sleeps and eats well."

Gwen was born in Sunderland and had five siblings.

She went to live in Manchester with her family when she was six as her dad's civil service job moved.

Gwen married her husband Arthur when she was 21. Sadly he died 32 years ago.

She lost her son Bob three years ago.

"Mum worked for a pharmaceutical company until she retired in her 60s," said Joyce

"She was packing aspirins and plasters in boxes. She loved doing crosswords and was very much into soaps.

"She always watched the news and took an interest in what was going on.

"When my brother lived in America she visited him seven times and travelled all over the place to San Francisco, Memphis, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.

Winsford Guardian:

"When I lived in Australia she came out to see me twice. She has had quite a full life."

Gwen has three grandsons Andrew and Robert Hall and Steven Matthews and one granddaughter Mary Webster, who lives in America anc five great grandchildren Nicole, 15, James, 20, Mia, 15 months, Josh, eight, and Harry, five.

Gwen recently moved into the Laurels Care Home on Walnut Drive, where staff and residents held a party to celebrate her birthday.

"The Laurels put on a lovely spread with 100 balloons and an entertainer," added Joyce.

"Everyone loves her."