ONE of the oldest women in the country has celebrated her birthday.

Alice Horne, thought to be the nation’s oldest living freeman, turned 107 on Thursday.

Alice, of Oswaldtwistle, was awarded the honour of Freedom of the Borough in 2005 in recognition of her extensive charity work, and is thought to be the oldest woman in East Lancashire.

Oswaldtwistle councillor Peter Britcliffe was among those who called on Alice to pay his respects. He said: “It was great to be part of Alice’s 107th birthday celebrations.

“She is a fabulous lady and was still telling people she is just 21 really. She’s lovely, and we had a glass of sherry.”

Alice’s nephew, Kenneth, added: “It’s incredible. She does not look 107 - you would not think that by looking at her.

“We don’t know what her secret is. She has an indomitable spirit. She has taken the view that no matter what is happening, there’s no point in grumbling.

“She still enjoys the little things in life, like a glass of wine or shandy.

“We take her out every two weeks which keeps her spirits up.”

Alice, originally from Scotland, has led a remarkable life, having cheated death on several occasions. As a child she contracted polio, and during the Second World War she was buried under the rubble of a matchstick factory after the German blitz on Liverpool.

At the age of 50, an accident left her confined to a wheelchair, and in 2005 she was attacked by intruders who tried to steal from her home.

The plucky pensioner has spent many years working for charity and playing sports.

After learning to swim aged 70, she became involved with the Disabled Association for Sport in Hyndburn, taking part in javelin, bowling and darts events, and in 1986 she was named Britain’s most active pensioner.

The oldest living person in the UK is believed to be 113-year-old Ethel Lang, from Barnsley, who is set to celebrate her 114th birthday in June.