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The secret of long life - champers and honey

PUBLISHED: 12:21 04 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:55 07 September 2010

A CENTENARIAN from Highgate celebrated her 100th birthday in style with a special trip to a police station. Ex-police officer and model Ella Spray was born on March 23 in 1908 and last week she paid a visit to her old stomping ground at Hornsey

Tan Parsons

A CENTENARIAN from Highgate celebrated her 100th birthday in style with a special trip to a police station.

Ex-police officer and model Ella Spray was born on March 23 in 1908 and last week she paid a visit to her old stomping ground at Hornsey Police Station where she used to work as a communications officer.

"It was wonderful - we had a lovely trip to the station and the people we met were ever so nice," she said.

"They gave me a fantastic bouquet of flowers. The station has changed a bit since I was last there though - it's all done on computers nowadays."

Ms Spray was brought up at her family home in Waterlow Park, and when she was old enough she started work modelling shoes and clothes.

She joined the police in 1937 and it was her job at the Hornsey station to relay information coming in over the radio to officers in patrol cars.

Her future husband, Frederick, was a police officer based at the same station. The pair fell in love and married the following year at the Catholic Church in Eden Grove.

Mr Spray died in 1992, but spent more than 30 years working for the police.

Their first home after getting married was in the Vale of Health, Hampstead, then they moved to Milton Road. Since 1983 she has lived in Lanchester Road.

She celebrated her 100th birthday over a roast dinner with a few pals and her close friend Charlie Herbert.

"We had a nice little celebration last week with a few friends," she said. "The secret of my long life is acacia honey and champagne. I have acacia honey in my tea every day. Unfortunately I don't have champagne every day, but Charlie always gets me a bottle every fortnight. We had a wonderful party."

Mr Herbert met Ms Spray years ago when he was working as a receptionist at her doctors and while they are not blood relatives he calls her his aunt.

"She's been like a mum to me," he said. "We met more than 30 years ago and we've just become very good friends. I'm a taxi driver and we thought it would be nice to celebrate her birthday with a little drive around all her old haunts. She's got three or four really good friends who we met up with on the day.

"She got a beautiful card from the Queen and a telegram from the pensions service. She was hoping there might be a cheque from the Queen as well though - we heard that in Ireland you get £5,000 when you get to 100."

tan.parsons@hamhigh.co.uk

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