A woman who celebrated her 107th birthday said there was no secret to old age – except the sheer will and determination to live.

Gladys Richardson, who only answers to the name ‘Gee’, was born in 1911 in Derbyshire, and yesterday celebrated her special day at Abbeyfield Supported Housing in Clayton Road, Mold.

Sitting on her favourite chair, surrounded by bouquets of lillies and cards from friends, local authorities and the Queen, Mrs Richardson looked on at a bright February morning and said: “I always get the sunshine on my birthday.”

Mrs Richardson’s family said she is still sharp as a whistle, with her sense of humour and jolly nature still intact as she nears the end of her 11th decade.

As she received a card from the Queen – her seventh one to date – and said: “I’m glad you remembered me, Queenie!

“Every birthday has always been special. The older I get, the better they get. I’ve had that many presents over the years – I can’t possibly remember them all. I’m having a whale of a time today.”

Mrs Richardson moved from Cornwall, where she grew up, to Flint in 1945 and said she has lived in North Wales for the majority of her life.

The former typist and secretary recalled a rich life filled with sociable activities, from performing on stage in Wallasey on the Wirral and frequenting Women’s Institute meetings and events.

She said: “I joined the WI when I was 20 years old – I was probably the only single woman in it at the time.

“I was seven when the Suffragette movement started. Of course, I was only a child so I don’t remember much about it but it was a great event. My mother made a commotion – not so much my granny – because my mother was a widow after my father, Stanley Evans, died in the First World War.”

Mrs Richardson remembers spending cold winters inside performing dramatics.

She said: “I never wanted to join the actual theatre but I loved performing. It was just great fun, and I never took it too seriously.

“My children came and watched me each time – I’d have killed them if they hadn’t!”

Her three sons and daughters-in-law – Ian and Wendy, Dave and Jane, Gordon and Jeannette – said the mother figure of the ‘Richardson Clan’ is an “amazing and remarkable and healthy” woman.

According to her middle son, Dave, a retired jockey, his mother has “never taken a pill or tablet in her life”.

He said: “It’s an amazing age. We talk on the phone and although she forgets some things, she’s all there. She has a pure determination to live.”

The family also thanked Abbeyfield Supported Housing for their exceptional hospitality for their mother and said the remarkable food, company, and high standard of care have contributed to her long old age and health.

She married her sweetheart, Gordon Richardson, a former serviceman in the RAF “over 80 years ago”.

Towards their latter years of their marriage, they took over the newsagents in Mount Pleasant, Flint, where they were valued among many members of the community.

Mrs Richardson moved from her bungalow in Pantymwyn, near Mold, 21 years ago and has since becoming great friends with the staff at Abbeyfield who said they have “grown old with her too”.

Mrs Richardson looks forward to seeing her five grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and one great-great-granchild, who will return from various parts of the world – including Australia, Paris, Germany and England – to wish many happy returns to the head of their family.