WHEN Barbara Hollis was born two months premature there was no intensive baby care unit to keep the tiny infant alive.

Instead her father, a farmer, came up with the idea of using a pipette he kept for his lambs to help feed the baby weighing just two and half pounds.

Just look at her now - celebrating her 100th birthday at the pub, in good health and still very independent.

Barbara's early arrival in the world was due to something you don't see very often today - a horse and cart.

Problem was the horse bolted, the cart overturned, and on came mum's early labour.

But Barbara survived thanks to dad's quick thinking, and she went on to move from her Rutland home village to Cambridge where she trained as a nurse and met a teacher called Ray Saunders who was to become her husband in 1940.

It was a marriage that lasted 48 years until Ray's death, and it bore the couple four children, three girls and a boy.

The couple spent many years in Worcester, where Ray worked his way up to Deputy Education Officer for Worcestershire while Barbara worked at Worcester hospital.

After Ray's death Barbara moved to Welland, near Malvern.

Her life of nursing took a very different direction when she became a member of the parole board at Long Lartin prison, deciding whether serious criminals, including murderers, should be allowed out of jail.

She also raised funds for a half way house for ex-offenders in Worcester.

Eventually she moved into a bungalow on a sheltered accommodation site at Ledbury in 1998, although she remains independent, walks with a frame and continues her passion for home cooking.

Her family regularly take her to the Walwyn Arms in Much Marcle, where she feels relaxed and the staff have grown to know here and 'look after her.'

She likes an occasional tipple, is a healthy eater, and, in the words of daughter Kate Best, is 'a very optimistic' person.

Having survived such a traumatic entry into the world, she probably has every reason to be.