THE family of a Matlock woman about to celebrate her 100th birthday thought she was still five years short of that landmark – until “the Queen” called.
Rita Conway’s family only realised she would be 100 on Wednesday when the Department for Work and Pensions rang to say she would receive a letter from the Queen.
Rita’s daughter, Hilary Backhouse, of Darley Dale, said: “We didn’t have a birth certificate for my mum, only a medical certificate which said her birthday was April 10, 1918.
“We don’t know if someone copied it out wrong but we always just assumed it was right.
“When we got the call, we were absolutely stunned! We thought this year was her 95th birthday.”
Rita, who’s husband Joe passed away in the 1960’s, celebrated the landmark year with a visit from her family who live in Israel.
Hilary, 68, said: “My mum is pretty amazing for her age and still manages to get about on her own.”
Rita has dementia but her family said she as still “incredibly lively and cheerful”.
She was born in Carlisle and lived in Newcastle for most of her life. When Hilary moved to Derbyshire, her mother moved into Valley Lodge Care Home in Matlock.
Rita, who was born on April 10, 1913, said: “I think the secret to a long life is to enjoy it.”