A sprightly pensioner who has celebrated her 103rd birthday puts her long life down to playing her favourite game – a round of BINGO.
Gladys Mott has lived through the sinking of the Titanic, both world wars and 25 changes of Prime Minister.
But throughout that time she has been a life-long fan of bingo. Gladys has even adapted to the technological revolution and learned how to play bingo online, with sites such as BingoFind.
Gladys celebrated her birthday with a giant cake, and two rounds of bingo at her home in Furnace Green, Sussex.
She said that the secret to her long life has been “not drinking, not messing around with men, and getting out to her favourite bingo clubs”.
She added: “My love of bingo started decades ago when I worked in a bingo hall for six years,’ she told the Kent and Sussex Courier.
“I still go out to my clubs and play a couple of times a week because I get so much enjoyment from it. They are lovely little clubs I go to and the people are so kind.
“Years ago I had a big win of £500. I gave some of it to help my daughter and used the rest to pay bills. I didn’t want to waste it.”
As well as playing bingo at her sheltered accommodation home, Gladys attends a weekly session at St Edward’s Catholic Social Club, in Pound Hill – something she has done without fail for the last 25 years.
She said that people often ask her the “secret to what keeps her going”.
“I tell them I don’t drink, don’t smoke and don’t mess around with men which always causes laughter,” she said.
“Every day I wake up at 6am and look forward to the day ahead. I enjoy my exercise and getting out to my clubs and getting the bus into town. Then I have my lovely flat to come home to.”
Mrs Mott was born in 1910. She still has vivid memories of both world wars.
She added: “During the First World War, I can remember the men who would knock on the doors to warn people and call out to take cover,” she said.
“We used the school’s shelter but luckily there was no bombing. My father was sent home because he was gassed.
“He did get his sight back, though, and would tell us many tales of his time fighting.
“By the Second World War I was married and my daughter was just a baby.
“My husband was in the RAF and we were staying in Bedfordshire with my family.
“I was lucky because my flat in Peckham had a direct hit from a bomb. It was a good job I wasn’t there. We lost absolutely everything.
“My husband came back safe and we went on to have the most wonderful life together. I would love to go back and live it all over again.”
Gerry Lydon, the chairman of the bingo club that Gladys attends, said: “When it comes to bingo Gladys is still extremely sharp, she never misses a number and is quite often the winner.
“Gladys comes to the bingo with her friends and there was a time that they couldn’t get to us because the person who brought them was in hospital.
“However, instead of missing the bingo, Gladys organised for her and her friends to get a taxi here and back.
“They weren’t going to miss it.”