A SURPRISE party thrown by her two great nieces was a special treat for one Newbrough resident who reached her landmark 100th birthday.

Phyllis Brown was shocked to be surrounded by friends and family when she went out for a birthday meal at Hexham’s Beaumont Hotel.

She said: “I was quite surprised, in fact I was overwhelmed by the party. I just feel really lucky.”

Born and raised in Corbridge, Phyllis worked at an engineering firm in Tyneside during the Second World War.

She said: “I couldn’t wait to get out on Saturday lunchtimes and get the bus or tram on the night to go dancing in Newcastle.”

It was while at one of these dances that she met her husband-to-be, Joseph, in 1945. As he was in the Royal Air Force and away a lot, a further 10 years passed by before they got married at Newcastle Civic Centre.

While they didn’t have any children of their own, Phyllis played a hands-on role with her niece, Wendy, and her great nieces Helen and Clare (pictured) and great nephew, Chris. Phyllis is also a great, great aunt to three children.

Helen said: “She maintains her independence and is quite a lady. She has always enjoyed the outdoors, including countryside walks and gardening. We place much of her longevity on her love of the outdoors, dancing in her younger years and, of course, the odd glass of sherry.”