‘Just carry on’ Pensioner shares her key to her long life after turning 102

A bubbly pensioner who has turned 102 says the key to a long life is the occasional glass of sherry.

Dorothy Donegan also says tea and biscuits have helped her reach her milestone birthday. 

Dorothy marked her big day on Friday with an afternoon tea party. Dorothy celebrated with her niece Chrystyne at Clarendon House Care Home in Allesley, Coventry. She tucked into sandwiches, biscuits and cakes and spoke of some of her fondest childhood memories.

Dorothy, who was born in Hampton-in-Arden, West Midlands, lived with her two parents, three sisters and five brothers. Reminiscing about her childhood, she said: “I enjoyed my life, my life was a good life. We are quite a big family. I had a good mother and father. We used to play, and we used to follow the lads over the field.”

Asked what they used to get up to, Dorothy laughed: “I am not telling you! Oh no, that is a secret what we used to get up to.”

Dorothy told CoventryLive her father taught her how to play dominoes which she still plays to this day. She said: “We used to play all sorts of things. My father was a big dominoes player. He used to play dominoes at the pub. We played cards too.”

With Christmas approaching, Dorothy spoke of her fondest festive memories with her siblings. She said: “We used to get in their bed and they used to get in ours to see what presents we had got. I always had an apple, an orange and some chocolate biscuits.”

However, her childhood was tinged with sadness after the tragic death of her young brother who was killed while riding his motorbike. Dorothy said: “It was very, very sad that day. It was a very sad day for Dave. He was a lovely brother, full of life and laughter.”

Dorothy went on to marry her beloved husband Gerald, who was born in Wales, with whom she spent 53 years before he sadly passed away. She worked at Standard Motor Company in Coventry until her son John was born.

Nowadays, Dorothy likes to sit back and relax, playing board games, doing word searches and looking through magazines. She also likes to watch quiz shows on TV. Laughing, she said: “I watch anything as long as it is clean!”

She loves watching the singer who performs each week at Clarendon House Care Home. Although, she says nothing compares to a cup of tea and biscuits. She said: “I love a cup of tea. A hot cup of tea goes down like nectar.”

Dorothy shared some of the wisdom she has gleaned over the last century, saying: “Just carry on and live a good clean life and praise the Lord for what he has given you.”

Asked how she feels about reaching the milestone age, she said: “Oh not bad! I am going to run around the playing field soon.” Laughing about her younger days, Dorothy said: “If there are boys about I will have ’em!”

Carer Tracey Bates said: “Dorothy is very chatty. She likes her own company, but she is very chatty about her life. She loves doing her word searches and talks about the Royal Family.

“Just tea and a slice of cake, you know, that is all she asks for and she has that every day. She is a lovely lady.”

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