Great grandmother who has battled meningitis and a brain tumour celebrates 100th birthday

A DEVOTED great grandmother who celebrated her 100th birthday this week said the key to a happy and healthy life was to stay away from cigarettes and alcohol.

Madie Welch, of Wellesley Road, celebrated her 100th birthday on Wednesday.

Madie, who has three sons, five grandchildren and eight great grandchildren was born in Great Yarmouth.

She started work when she was 13-year-old, selling tobacco and sweets at a confectioners shop on Northgate Street.

She met her husband, Leslie, while at work and they married at St Nicholas Church when Madie was 23-years-old.

“I love living in Great Yarmouth. I always used to go paddling on the beach. The best time of my life was when my boys were all young.

“My boys all loved one another and never argued - they were as good as gold. We had nothing but we used our hands and heads to make our own games.

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“If it was raining I would get a big box of buttons and we would play games. We had to make do and mend but we were happy.”

She celebrated her special day with a visit from Great Yarmouth mayor Colleen Walker followed by a family party at her son John’s house.

“It doesn’t seem possible that I am 100. I never thought I would live as long as this. I was fit and healthy until I was 70 and then I had a brain tumour and meningitis,” Madie said.

She enjoys spending time with her family and knitting blankets for Romanian children and people in hospices.

She lost her husband to lung cancer when he was 64-years-old.

“The secret to a long life is not to drink or smoke and to eat a normal amount,” she added.