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Prize-winning gardener says her long life a mystery at 100th birthday party

Nellie Bailey celebrates her 100th birthday at Newstead Nursing Home in Denewood Road, Highgate. Picture: Polly Hancock Nellie Bailey celebrates her 100th birthday at Newstead Nursing Home in Denewood Road, Highgate. Picture: Polly Hancock

Sunday, May 25, 2014
9:00 AM

A prize-winning gardener celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends in Highgate.

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Nellie Bailey reached the milestone on Friday and was delighted to receive a card from the Queen.

“It is an honour,” Mrs Bailey said. “It’s a lovely photograph of her.”

On the secret to a long life, she added: “I just got to 100. I don’t know how, I just lived a normal life.”

The great-grandmother was born in Muswell Hill and lived there until four years ago when she moved to Newstead Nursing Home in Denewood Road, Highgate, following a fall.

Born just three months before the start of the First World War, Mrs Bailey worked in a jeweller’s shop before marrying builder Arthur Bailey in 1938.

They moved to Gladsmuir Road, Archway, and then Greenham Road, Muswell Hill, where they had their only son, Phil, in 1943.

Mrs Bailey was an avid gardener, regularly winning prizes at flower shows for the Greenham Road allotment holders, events that she helped to organise.

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