Meet Alice Eastwood, a 109-year-old who is cracking jokes and drinking whisky ... in the morning.
Alice, who is now thought to be Huddersfield’s oldest person, lives in a care home in Kirkburton and has outlived her siblings and one of her own children.
When asked what the secret to longevity is, the centenarian said: “When I make a cup of tea in the morning, I add a drop of whisky.
“I don’t even care what brand.”
She had five brothers and four sisters who all lived to be in their late 80s and 90s. Her dad, a steelworker, died of double pneumonia years before her mum, a homemaker, died of a stroke in her late 80s.
Alice, who grew up in Sheffield, left school at the age of 14 and began childminding. After several years, she moved to Farnley Tyas to try to get a job at Storthes Hall Hospital.
“The depression was so bad that you would grab any job you could get,” she recalls.
During a trip from the small village to Blackpool she met Joe Eastwood, a local farmer. They dated for a year or two before getting married in 1931 at a church in Alice’s home city but unfortunately they couldn’t afford wedding photos.
“We used to have dances at Farnley Tyas but Joe - I used to call him Joseph to annoy him - couldn’t dance,” she said.
“I couldn’t recommend him for his dancing. He had no sense of rhythm at all.”
The couple had three children together – Valerie, Jean and Elaine.
Sadly, Alice was widowed nearly 30 years ago and Jean passed away 18 years ago aged 64.
With 58 years of marriage under her belt, Alice thoughtfully offered some advice: “Love and respect each other.
“Respect their points of view, there is always another side,” she said. “Your side is not always supposed to be right and you should agree to that.”
Up until this summer she was living alone and being visited by carers twice daily. She needed a hospital stay for a chest infection in July and subsequently moved to Croftlands Care Home.
And as for her great age she said: “It’s too much - 109 is too old. I wanted to have died before now.
“Everything goes past you - your memory is not so good. You remember some things you should have forgotten - where you slipped up. If you had time to do it again, you would make something different but it’s too late.”
When asked what it is she regrets, she said: “Oh, that’s a secret! And not my secret to tell.
“If you tell me a secret, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s a secret forever.”
But she’s still got a lot to look forward to as next year she’ll become a great-great-grandmother for the second time, thanks to grandson John Gill and his wife Emma.
Speaking from experience, Alice had some sage advice for the younger generation,
“Always make your mind up and do not be so eager to take anybody’s secrets on your shoulders,” she said. “Let people deal with their own troubles.
“And be very sure to bring children up to know the difference between right and wrong.”