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Oxford Street is secret to long life according to 100-year-olds

PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 March 2012

Cecil Armstrong celebrates his birthday by planting a tree with the Lord Mayor of Westminster Cllr Susie Burbridge and his family

Cecil Armstrong celebrates his birthday by planting a tree with the Lord Mayor of Westminster Cllr Susie Burbridge and his family

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Double centenary celebrations held in St John’s Wood as two residents reach triple figures

Forget face creams, a healthy diet or exercise regimes: the secret to a long life is a regular trip to Oxford Street.

St John’s Wood enjoyed a double whammy of 100th birthdays last week when long-time residents Lily Bryant and Cecil Armstrong hit triple figures within a day of each other.

With birthday cards in the post from the Queen, both centenarians had parties at the Wharncliffe Gardens Estate after living in the area for a combined total of 116 years.

Boundary Road resident Mrs Bryant turned up to her weekly Golden Years club on Wednesday last week to be greeted with a surprise birthday party from dozens of her friends.

After moving to the estate in 1930, Lily married Thomas who fought and died in the Second World War.

Daughter Marion was then born a few months after Mr Bryant’s death in 1941.

After successfully battling breast cancer at the age of 44, Mrs Bryant worked for 36 years in Jordan’s department store in Church Street before it became Alfie’s Antiques.

Since retiring at the age of 65, Mrs Bryant says she keeps herself active by doing all her own cooking, cleaning and making weekly trips to the shops in Oxford Street.

“I look after myself and go out as much as I can,” she said. “I do all my own shopping, take care of myself and don’t moan.

“I didn’t ever think I would get to 100 though.”

The Oxford Street regime is also followed by Mr Armstrong, known as Larry, whose daily routine includes a trip to London’s busiest shopping street.

“I get up at five in the morning and I walk round the estate, have breakfast and then get out and about,” he said.

“I like to go to Oxford Street for some shopping.”

Mr Armstrong, who served as a radar mechanic in the Royal Air Force, has lived on the Wharncliffe Gardens Estate for 34 years after a career writing for newspapers in Guyana.

With Westminster Lord Mayor Cllr Susie Burbridge in attendance at his birthday party, Mr Armstrong planted a tree to celebrate the occasion.

“I never expected anything like this, to live to be a 100,” he said.

“I am rather chuffed that I have my friends and relatives here today. I think this is the best area in London.”

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