A LEDBURY woman who devoted her life to helping others celebrated her 100th birthday earlier this month.

Devout Christian Ivy Yoakley was joined by friends and family at Ledbury Nursing Home to mark the special day on Thursday, May 2, where she opened a birthday card from the Queen.

Mrs Yoakley was joined for the celebration by staff from the nursing home, her son and daughter-in-law who had travelled over from New Zealand, family from Devon, members of her 'church' family and old friends and neighbours. Reverend Ian Sim, pastor at Ledbury Baptist Church when the couple first moved to the area, was also invited to give a reading and lead prayers to mark the occasion.

The centenarian was treated to her favorite sweet treat, a lemon curd birthday cake, before she said that her secret was "having Jesus in her life".

Anita Kinnear, activities champion at Ledbury Nursing Home, said: "Ivy's been an absolute treat to have in the home since moving here last year. Despite her advanced years, she hasn't lost her energy or wit, and often entertains residents and staff with a hymn 'sing-a-long'.

"I'm proud to have played a part in these celebrations and hope that Ivy, her friends and family enjoyed it as much as I did."

Born in Redmarley, Gloucestershire in 1919, Mrs Yoakley attended grammar school in Ledbury before moving to London to find work, where she later met her husband, Joe.

The couple returned back to Ledbury in 1963 to care for Mrs Yoakley’s elderly mother, before Mrs Yoakley moved to Ledbury Nursing Home last year at the age of 99.