There’s no great secret to living to 104, according to one of Lancashire’s oldest women.
Elsie Crompton, who lived on her own in Royal Avenue, Leyland, until three months ago, held a party yesterday to celebrate the milestone day at Coote Lane Residential Home in Lostock Hall.
She said: “There isn’t a secret to a long life, I just keep going.
“I’ve enjoyed myself working hard, being involved in voluntary organisations, and I’ve had good friends.”
Elsie was born in 1909 and grew up in Manchester as an only child. She lost her mum at the age of 13.
At school she loved to study English and dreamt of one day being a journalist, but was put off by teachers who told her it was a “man’s job”.
At 25 she married her late husband Jim, a bank clerk, in 1933 - but only after he got his manager’s permission to wed.
Friend Jean Bidwell said: “In those days bank workers had to work their way up and earn enough money before the bank manager would allow them to marry.
“Married women weren’t allowed to continue working at the bank and had to leave.”
Elsie said she was too young to remember any details of the First World War, but does remember German air raids on Manchester during the Second World War.
Jim was called up for service in the Intelligence Corps and Elsie was left on her own to look after their baby son, Robin.
After the war, Jim returned to banking and the family moved to Leyland in 1961 when he landed a job as manager at the former Williams and Deacons bank in Towngate.
Elsie found work as a private secretary for a consultant surgeon based in Moor Park Avenue, Preston.
Jean added: “She loved her work and only retired at the age of 73.
“When she made her decision to go, the consultant, decided to retire too, as he couldn’t face working with another secretary.”
After her retirement, Elsie followed son Robin around the world for his work with the Foreign Office, but he died aged just 60.
She then spent time working for voluntary groups such as the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service.
She joined Leyland Methodist Church six years ago.
Elsie added: “A lot has changed since I was a little girl, it’s all gone haywire.
“If I had my time again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve had a great life.”