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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 May, 2003, 17:57 GMT 18:57 UK
UK's oldest woman reaches 111
Lucy on her 110th birthday
Lucy d'Abreu likes to keep active
One of the UK's most senior citizens has marked her 111th birthday.

A small celebration for Lucy d'Abreu was held at the nursing home in Stirling where she now lives.

Mrs d'Abreu was born in southern India in 1892 when Queen Victoria was on the throne.

She has lived through the reigns of five monarchs and the turn of two centuries.

Mrs d'Abreu shunned the limelight and urged reporters to come back next week, saying she would "still be here in a week's time and still be 111".

She will be having a massive iced sponge cake, which one of the nuns brought in this morning, and a wee drink
Nursing home spokeswoman

The great, great grandmother spent 74 of her years in Ireland, where her late husband worked as a surgeon.

After a bad fall at the age of 106, she moved to Scotland to be near one of her children and entered the privately run Annfield Nursing Home in Stirling.

Staff said Mrs d'Abreu reads a newspaper daily, walks with a stick and enjoys food, books and conversation.

A spokeswoman said: "She has got her family and her grandchildren and great grandchildren with her.

"She will be having a massive iced sponge cake, which one of the nuns brought in this morning, and a wee drink."

Her longevity, she has said, is down to the "grace of God".

She also attributed her long life to a "customary sun-downer of brandy and dry ginger ale".

The title of the UK's oldest woman belongs to Gladys Hawley, who was born on 18 December 1891, and lives at Brookholme Nursing and Residential Home, Chesterfield, Derbyshire.

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