Making it to the century mark is a feat in itself worth celebrating, but reaching 104 years is an even more special moment to commemorate.
You may think the golden years are spent in a care home facility once you reach this age. But this is not the case for 104-year-old Doll Smith, who has marked her birthday in her own home in Beech Court.
Doll is the oldest resident at the sheltered housing complex in Mansfield Woodhouse, owned by Mansfield District Council. She celebrated reaching 104 years old with a surprise party and entertainment with her friends and fellow residents on Friday 11 November.
Still able to do much of her care and make warm drinks, Doll is a regular at the weekly Age Concern group sessions and enjoys spending time with her friends in Beech Court.
Apart from receiving support from carers, Doll lives an independent life and is in fairly good health.
Speaking about her secret to a long life, Doll said: “A pint of John Smiths and laughing with my friends every day.”
She spends her days in the community room, watching the world go by from the window. She also enjoys having her hair done weekly to keep her looking fantastic for when her family visits.
Doll was married to Alfred and shared a dog in their home at Mansfield Woodhouse. When both passed away, Doll longed to have company and be with her friends.
Viv Thompson, ASSIST Support Officer for the authority, supports pensioners at Beech Court.
She said: “We marked Doll’s 100th and pulled out all of the stops and didn’t believe we would be here today for 104 – well, here we are!
“Doll used to live in the area in a lovely little bungalow but always said she felt lonely and didn’t know what was happening in the community. So, in her late 90s, she wanted to move to Beech Court to the bedsit as there were people around, and she craved the company of people.
“Doll buzzes off of company, she loves community spirit. From attending her weekly Age Concern group to enjoying social events on Monday with her carers, she is non-stop!
“She is absolutely fantastic, her sense of humour, just everything she is doing amazing. She loves Elvis, and we tried to get him to come for the party, but unfortunately he wasn’t available!”
Doll moved to Beech Court over six years ago in her late 90s. She worked in a local factory for over 40 years and has one son, who is 83, and two granddaughters.
Executive Mayor Andy Abrahams added: “Doll is such an amazing lady, reaching an unbelievable milestone I can only hope and aspire all our Mansfield residents to reach one day.
“It is really unusual for someone to be living so independently at such an age, but it is brilliant to hear how well Doll is doing and enjoying her time at Beech Court. I think it is her mischievous sense of humour and always smiling is the key to her longevity.
“Providing a supportive and adapted space to residents when they reach a certain age is exactly what our sheltered housing aims to achieve.”