Great-gran, 105, defies coronavirus with boozy birthday at pub and sex shop

One of Britain’s oldest women celebrated her birthday in the pub and a sex shop despite the coronavirus outbreak.

105-year-old Ellen Matthews says she has “seen it all in her time” and wasn’t going to let the COVID-19 outbreak stop her.

On Wednesday, she knocked back a glass of wine as well as afternoon tea at the Edge of Town pub in Northampton surrounded by loved ones.

Ellen said she wanted the event to go ahead despite the coronavirus outbreak sweeping Britain, adding: "You only die once."

Known to most of her family as Auntie Nelly, she still lives at home in Wooton, Northamptonshire, despite having a stroke and only having limited use of her right arm.

Ellen has carers who visit her three times a day who '"look after her very well", but she often still manages to cook for herself.

She was born on March 17, 1915 and has lived through 25 prime ministers, four monarchs and survived both world wars.

Ellen said: "I thoroughly enjoyed my birthday. I think I had a bit to drink, but it was my birthday so I'm allowed.

"It was my first visit to a sex shop. It was quite an interesting experience.

"I didn't buy anything, just for the record. There was nothing that took my fancy.

"I've lived through two wars so wasn't going to let the coronavirus scupper our plans. It's a nasty business though and I hope I survive it.

"But I'll be ready to go whenever my time comes, I haven't done too badly. I've seen it all, good and bad, but you have to carry on smiling."

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Niece Ann Renwick, 70, of Telford, Shrops, said: "We had a wonderful day.

"Auntie Nelly is a real character. She still has all her marbles and is a great laugh.

"She polished off a large wine, a triple brandy and then started drinking my wine.

"When I suggested we went to the sex shop next door, she jumped at the chance but shrugged 'it's probably nothing I haven't seen before'.

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"She knew what most of the things were but asked what the whip was for.

"She has always says a good appetite has helped her last this long. She can still get through a carvery no problem.

"Her memory isn't what it is but she's doing amazingly well and long may that continue."

When asked what her advice would be to help others live a long and happy life, Ellen simply replied: "Keep going in the face of adversity."

She had a long working life, including as a nurse for premature babies at Northampton General Hospital and then working in care homes for seven and a half years.

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She said: "I worked with little babies and I worked with older people until they died. I saw them in and saw them out."

The great-grandmum of two was born in Ilford, East London, but was orphaned aged two after her dad was killed in France during the war and her mum died after her home was bombed.

She was taken in by a foster family at five years old and went on to marry her teenage sweetheart Walter aged 19 in 1934.

They had two children together and lived in Northamptonshire, before Walter passed away from cancer 25 years ago.

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