They couldn’t quite find enough candles for the cake, but the family of centenarian Doris Lee still celebrated in style on Friday.
Mrs Lee, who turned 100 on September 27, was joined by four generations of her family, including grandson Paul Groome who flew in specially from his home in San Diego, California.
Doris was born and bred in Boxmoor and attended St Johns Junior School before studying at Apsley Central School.
When she was 14, she left to work in box returns at stationers John Dickinson on Apsley’s London Road – one of the town’s largest employers at the time – which used to occupy the site where Sainsbury’s supermarket is now.
She worked there for most of her adult life, before finding a cleaner’s job at a TV rental shop.
Doris moved around quite a bit, living in Apsley and Bennetts End before moving in with son Terry and daughter-in-law Carol five years ago following the death of her husband Alfred.
When asked her secret to a long, healthy life, she said: “I’ve got no idea!”
Granddaughter Claire said: “I don’t think she looks 100. She’s always used Oil of Olay ever since I can remember.”
The rest of her family attributed her sweet tooth as the secret to a long and healthy life, saying she regularly enjoys cakes, biscuits and sweets – mainly marshmallows and jelly babies.
Terry said: “She’s always taken cod liver oil. I remember her giving it to me as a boy, it was awful! She used to give me a spoonful of malt afterwards to take the taste away.
“And she’s still got a good sense of humour. When she opened her telegram from the Queen, she said ‘She didn’t even put a fiver in it!’”
Doris has two children, four grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and will welcome her first great-great grandchild in November.