Bodelwyddan grandmother sips champagne for first time to celebrate 100th birthday

Published date: 13 February 2017 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A GRANDMOTHER sipped champagne for the first time during her 100th birthday celebration – and declared she “loved it”.

Friends and family gathered to help Lydia Jane Johannessen, of Cilgant Eglwys Wen, Bodelwyddan, mark her milestone.

The mother of two, known to everyone as Jane, was treated to a meal with 10 of her close friends, then a party. 

She also received a greeting card off the Queen, which has taken pride of place on her mantlepiece.

Jane Johannessen parties with friends and family

Her grandson, Chris Johnston, 45, said: “The card from the Queen meant the world to her. 

“Her face lit up when she opened it. She takes great pride showing it to every person at her party.

”She puts her long life down to three things: hard work to keep you fit, cod liver oil to keep the body working and brandy straight from the bottle when she has a cough.” 

Mrs Johannessen was born in Swansea. She started work at the age of 12 as a waitress.

When she was 18, she met her future husband, Eric Johannessen, a sailor from Norway. The couple moved to Garston in Liverpool, where his family ran a business importing timber from Norway.

Mrs Johannessen survived the bombing of Garston dock during the Second World War.

She moved to North Wales with her husband when she was in her 50s – first to Rhyl, then two years later to Bodelwyddan.

The couple took on a guest house which they ran until Mr Johannessen’s death in 1982.

They had a son, Ronald, and a daughter, Rita, who died of cancer five years ago.

Mr Johnston added: “My grandmother continued running the guest house until she was 92 years old.

“The stress of the move had caused her to have a stroke and the doctors said she would never walk again, but with strength of will and support from her friends, after six months she proved them all wrong was able to walk again.

“She is fiercely independent. With the use of a Zimmer frame, she still cooks all her own meals and does her own cleaning.” 

Mrs Johannessen enjoys gardening and tending to her rose garden. 

“Her favourite television shows include Tipping Point and The Chase.

”She never misses an episode,” Mr Johnston said.

”My grandmother means the world to me. 

“We are the only close family we have for each other. I don’t know what I would do without her.”

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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