A DARLINGTON woman who spent her life caring for others has celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends.

Betty Brownbridge drank champagne and ate strawberries at a party organised by staff at The Lawns care home, in Ridsdale Street, where she now lives.

Born on March 30, 1914, Miss Brownbridge was considered disabled due to a club foot, which doctors at the time were unable to help with.

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She first worked as a housekeeper to a headteacher in Victoria Embankment before becoming a live-in nanny for two of her nephews, Timothy and Peter, while their mother went out to work.

Her great-niece, Susan Taylor said: “Although Aunt Betty never married or had children of her own, she did have children in her life. She was very close to the boys and was with them for most of their childhood.”

Miss Brownbridge lived with two of her sisters, Lily and Margaret, in Dodds Street and Easson Road, before returning to Dodds Street to live in sheltered accommodation.

Mrs Taylor praised the staff at The Lawns for their care of her great-aunt, who has recently recovered from a bout of ill health.

She said: “I can’t thank them enough, they really are wonderful. They’ve done everything for the party, decorated the room and made all the food.

“My aunt has lost her sight and is a little hard of hearing now but she still likes a laugh. She’s really enjoying the party today, she’s been telling everyone how happy she is.

“She’s particularly enjoying the champagne. She said: ‘I’ve never been drunk but at least I’m not far from my bed!’.”