A MUCH-loved great-grandmother with strong family genes has celebrated turning a century surrounded by her relatives.

Helena Johnston was born in May 1919 and dedicated her life to raising her three sons before taking on a cleaning job and becoming a familiar face around Darlington's Eastbourne School.

The 100-year-old was born in Sherburn in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire in the same year that the Treaty of Versailles brought the First World War to and end and when rotary dial telephones were just invented.

Mrs Johnston met her husband Harold who she spent her life with before he sadly passed away in 1987. Since then, Mrs Johnston has taken care of herself enjoys spending time with her family and completing countless wordsearches.

John Johnston, who himself is in his 70s is one of Mrs Johnston's three sons alongside Terry and Peter. He said: "She's definitely made of strong stuff and she's still bright as a button.

"She is one of eight children herself and her sister lived to be 107 – and she had a hip replacement at 105."

He added: "She's always kept herself busy and now has six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren – the youngest is Charlotte who is just one."