THE day after Britain declared war on Germany and forever changed the course of history, Nell Johnston was born.
Something of a troublemaker and tomboy in her youth, her father used to tell her she had started the war.
“I was supposed to be a girl, he used to say – not supposed to climb tress,” Mrs Johnston said.
Yesterday she celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends at Cottage Homes, keeping everyone entertained with her quick sense of humour and charm.
Born in Muswellbrook, she and her late husband Reg moved to Tamworth more than 70 years ago.
She carried her active spirit into her later years and is still a keen indoor bowls player.
“I started with outside bowls, but I didn’t like the wind messing my hair,” she said.
She cheerfully waved off her in-laws’ suggestions that she “hides a couple” of cards and “makes up her own rules” in her regular Friday games of hand and foot, a version of canasta.
“I’ve had a long and very, very happy life,” she said.
She said her family had always been there for each other.
She spent the weekend surrounded by people she loved, with all of her five children,
14 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren making the trip to Tamworth for the occasion.
When asked the secret to a long life, she shrugged.
“I’ve always been active and kept my kids out of jail. So far, the grandkids as well.”