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

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

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.

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