Stepping out kept Phyllis and Edna fit for long lives

Edna Lucas was 105 in Cherry Orchard, Hemel Hempstead, on Friday, March 14, 2014. PNL-140317-150631001

Edna Lucas was 105 in Cherry Orchard, Hemel Hempstead, on Friday, March 14, 2014. PNL-140317-150631001

A lifetime of walking everywhere and eating homegrown vegetables has paid off for centenarian Phyllis Long.

She celebrated the milestone at Hemel Hempstead’s Mountbatten Lodge with niece Jill McLoughlin, fellow residents and care staff.

Phyllis moved to Turners Hill in the new town from Harlesden in London with husband Albert in 1956.

Jill said: “I used to go and visit her there. She was a very keen gardener and the whole garden used to be turned over to growing things. She was really prolific in growing vegetables.”

Sadly, Albert died in 1972 aged just 59 and self-sufficient Phyllis, who never learned to drive – choosing instead to get about on foot – continued to live independently until around 13 years ago.

Despite recently being diagnosed with dementia, Phyllis remains quite ‘canny’ according to Jill. “She knows exactly who I am when I go and see her and she knows what is going on,” she said. “She has got a very good sense of humour and she likes a joke.”

Phyllis, who has always avoided alcohol, also lived on a good wholesome diet of meat and two veg.

Jill said: “She has lived in a stress free way. She has obviously done a lot of walking and it has kept her fit along with her gardening.”

Also a keen walker in her younger years was Edna Lucas who celebrated her 105th birthday on Friday. The mother-of-two, who worked as a London Underground booking clerk at the height of the Blitz, later moved to Warners End with her husband Eric when he had the option to be relocated out of London.

When not decorating the house or working in the garden they would go on long walks and sometimes stop off for a shandy at the local pub.

They also started to go abroad on holidays and fell in love with Switzerland.

Eric died in 1973 after a short illness and Edna’s attitude was that life must go on and she often accompanied daughter Margaret on trips and stayed with her in London.

But when her son Peter died in 2012, it was decided that Leeds-born Edna should move into High View Lodge care home in Gadebridge, where she is described as content and extremely well looked after.




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