TWO of the region's "golden oldies" celebrated important milestones yesterday.

Isobel Walker and Lillian Bell have a combined age of 208 - and they both celebrated with a good old cuppa.

At 108, Mrs Bell is Darlington's oldest resident. To mark the occasion, she was visited by the town's MP, Alan Milburn, at Moorlands Residential Home.

She attributes her longevity to abstaining from alcohol and cigarettes and living a clean life.

Yesterday, her daughter, Nancy Hutchinson, who also lives in Darlington, said: "She's probably the oldest person, not just in Darlington, but the whole area."

Yesterday, just before her family joined Mrs Bell for a birthday party at Moorlands, a bouquet of flowers arrived at the home from Mr Milburn.

He said: "Mrs Bell is a wonderful woman and thoroughly deserves to be made a fuss of."

Her oldest son, John, flew from his home in New Zealand to mark the occasion. Younger son Barry, made a smaller journey - from his Darlington home.

Although Mrs Bell is in a wheelchair, Mrs Hutchinson, said her mother's mind was as sharp as ever and she enjoyed chatting to Mr Milburn.

Meanwhile Mrs Walker, who is the widow of a detective inspector, had tea with Cleveland Chief Constable Sean Price, only 48 hours ahead of her 100th birthday tomorrow.

Her husband, Detective Inspector Percy Walker, worked for Middlesbrough Police in the 1950s and early 1960s. When he retired, he opened a garden centre at Marton, Middlesbrough. He died in 1967, aged 72.

Mrs Walker, who lives in east Cleveland, said being among police officers again brought back happy memories.

"It was such a lovely surprise to be invited,'' she said.