altA 103-year-old great-grandmother celebrated her birthday the other week by indulging in her favourite hobby – bingo. Gladys Mott lives in Sussex and has seen many memorable events unfold in her lifetime, including the sinking of the Titanic, World Wars I and II, and 25 different Prime Ministers. Despite reaching a phenomenal age, she remains fiercely independent and believes in living life to its full.

Gladys, who lives in the Furnace Green area of Sussex, marked her 103rd birthday by enjoying a piece of birthday cake and playing two sessions of bingo. Her love of the game all started many years ago when she worked in a bingo hall for six years. These days, she still enjoys visiting her local clubs and playing a few times a week because it gives her “so much enjoyment.” A few years ago, she scooped a big win of £500 which she partly used to help her daughter and paid off some bills with the rest of the cash as she “didn’t want to waste it.”

The great-grandmother was born in 1910 and can vividly remember both world wars. She says that during WWI, she can remember men coming to people’s front doors warning them to take cover. At the time, Gladys and her family had to seek shelter at the local school, but fortunately there was no bombing. However, her father who was serving had to be sent home after being gassed and temporarily lost his sight, and told Gladys many a tale of his time fighting.

Three years ago, Gladys received a telegram and card from the Queen to mark her 100th birthday, and now has plans to make it to 105 so that she can get another message from the Royal household. She says that many people often ask what her secret is for long life. She says she replies by telling them she doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, and doesn’t “mess around with men” which she says always raises a laugh. Gladys gets up a 6am every morning and looks forward to the day ahead, particularly when there’s bingo involved. As well as joining in with the games at her sheltered accommodation home, she also attends a weekly session at a nearby social club - a commitment she’s been making for the last 25 years without fail. The club’s chairman says Gladys is “still extremely sharp” when it comes to playing bingo, and that “she never misses a number and is quite often the winner.”