A FORMER nurse received VIP treatment at her 100th birthday party today (Friday, January 17).

Born is Oxhill near Stanely, Mary Heslop enjoyed a long and successful career as a nurse, matron and midwife, working at many of the region’s hospitals, including Darlington Memorial Hospital.

One of seven siblings, she never married and had children but has many nieces and nephews.

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In 2006, Ms Heslop moved to Rose Lodge Care Home in Newton Aycliffe, where staff and fellow residents were keen to make her 100th birthday a day to remember.

As well as baking an indulgent chocolate cake, staff organised a lively party, complete with buffet and entertainer.

Ms Heslop was also treated to an enormous bouquet of flowers and received cards from the Queen and Iain Duncan Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Her niece, Jean Dixon, from Woodham, near Newton Aycliffe, described her aunt as a feisty lady, adding: “She certainly keeps the staff here on their toes.

"She often tells them when to go on their breaks and has been seen trying to take another lady’s pulse.”