A LONG-STANDING Whitchurch resident believes the secret to reaching her age of 103 is fresh vegetables.

Eileen Knight enjoyed a double celebration this year with a party for friends and neighbours on her birthday December 5, and another get-together with family on December 9.

Vegetables however were off the menu for the celebrations, replaced with Victoria sponge and coffee and walnut cakes.

Daughter Pauline Southgate said: “Her secret is the fact her father did work at a big house so there was plenty of fresh vegetables to bring home. She talks about it was quite common to have asparagus, they had it quite often.

“I think it’s because not all the things were available that are now- she’s never eaten a McDonalds in her life.”

The great-grandmother moved to Whitchurch in 1986 with her husband and sweetheart Don, getting involved with the church community and with the Silk Mill.

Eileen has enjoyed knitting and sewing as well as gardening over the years, and holidays in Austria as a favourite spot to travel to.

Family call around to visit Eileen each week and the Surrey-born woman also enjoys the likes of lunch clubs in the town.

Pauline added: “The most remarkable thing about her is the strength of her tongue, she never stops talking, she’s a very strong personality.”

Eileen is aiming to reach her 105th birthday so she can have a second birthday card from the Queen.

Another milestone was celebrated last month with an 100th birthday for Bere Hill resident Bill Seddon.