A 100-year-old woman from Darwen has attributed her good health as a centenarian to two things - drinking Stella Artois and eating custard creams.

Eileen Maher, who is 30 years older than the NHS and just three months younger than the RAF, celebrated her 100th birthday with friends and staff at The Princess Alexandra Home in Blackpool, where she lives.

Proving you’re never too old to party, the former mill-worker was the life and soul of the surprise bash, posing for selfies and dancing with those who were there to celebrate with her.

Eileen hadn’t banked on having a party but her key worker Jenny Wilson and others at the Princess Alexandra home had other ideas.

Elaine Wright, care services manager, said: “Eileen said she just wanted her telegram from the Queen – and to be loved.”

In the end she not only received her special message from the Queen, but she was also left in no doubt as to how staff, residents and her special visitors Tom and Pauline Green, felt.

She was smothered in kisses, enjoyed a special concert, a dance, and fellow resident John Simms cut a dash in his ENSA (Entertainments National Service Association) uniform in her honour.

Ms Green, who had travelled from Surrey to be there on the day said: “Eileen was my mother’s best friend.

"They went on holidays, even the QE2, together.

“I see her as my auntie, she’s a wonderful woman.”

Eileen, who was born in Sunnyhurst Way in Darwen, was ‘made-up’ with the celebration.

She said: “It’s all been wonderful.

"I didn’t expect a party but it’s lovely they have done something so special for me. Being content has helped me reach my 100th birthday.”

Staff at the home also revealed that Eileen has a special secret to looking so good at 100.

They said: “Eileen’s not big on bubbly so her favourite tipple was on tap - Stella Artois! With a packet of custard creams, it’s her not-so-secret self-indulgence.”