A 100-YEAR-OLD churchgoer from Yate says the key to her long life has been a bowl of porridge every morning.

Betty Gowers, a resident of Stanshawes Care Home, also believes having worked since the age of 14 stood her in good stead for her later years.

Mrs Gowers, who celebrates her centenary at St Mary’s Church in Yate on Sunday, said: “I am truly grateful for my life and all that has been done for me.

“I just can’t believe I am 100, I still 45 inside.”

Born in Newcastle on March 9, 1914, Betty and her family including her four brothers moved to Wales for work in the mines and lost her father in the treacherous industry. With no work available for girls, Betty was sent to live with different families in Reading where she worked in Huntley and Palmer’s biscuit factory packing and checking products.

She married Army officer William Harold and the couple had a daughter, Rita. Sadly, William died in 1975 aged just 59.

Mrs Gowers also worked on the railways and was the first woman to be appointed in a draftsman’s officer and later in Sainsbury’s in Reading and a local sweet shop.

She moved to Yate in 1997 to be closer to her daughter and grandson. An active resident at Avonleigh sheltered accommodation, Mrs Gowers helped raise £11,000 for Macmillan Cancer Care by holding cake and jumble sales. She has been heavily involved with Yate Mothers’ Union based at St Mary’s Church.

“We tried to raise a lot of money through cake sales and different things,” she said. “It was very enjoyable and I made lots of friends.

“And working has certainly kept me out of mischief.”

A party for friends and family is being held at Stanshawes on Friday and a get together in her honour at the church on Sunday.

Added Mrs Gowers: “I wish there didn’t have to be a fuss at all but I am very grateful, everyone has been so kind to me.

“I have never liked to drink but I do have porridge with milk and sugar every morning.”