BRACING walks in the fresh air are the secret to Phyllis Rogers' long and healthy life, according to her granddaughter Karen Rogers.

Phyllis, from Morda, celebrated her 104th birthday at Brook House care home with flowers and 32 cards from friends and family.

Karen said: "My nan was born on top of Llynclys Common and grew up there. She married my granddad Ed when she was 19 and they had three kids: Doreen, my dad John, who everyone called Curly, and Richard.

"She has eight grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and two great, great grandchildren who are my grandsons, Oliver and Max, who are 12 and six."

"My nan made the best coffee and walnut cake in the world and hand-made ginger beer using raw ginger in muslin which she kept turning to make it. We kept asking when it was ready and she'd say not until it had gone yellow.

"She loved going for long walks. I remember when I had whooping cough and she took us up the hill and I was gasping for breath!

"That's why she's still fit as a fiddle. And she doesn't forget anything; she'll correct me on things and she knows all the gossip before I do."

Born Phyllis Pugh in 1915, a year into the First World War, Phyllis grew up without many of the conveniences of modern life.

"Phyllis' mum died when she was 13 so she ran the home," said Karen. "There was no electricity and no water. Her job early every Saturday morning was to take a little donkey down the hill and bring back two baskets of coal, and then do all the cleaning and other jobs around the village. She'd give all her wages to her dad and he gave her 'a couple of shiny pennies'.

"Her five brothers worked at the quarry and they used to start work early and come back with two buckets of water each, which Phyllis said was 'like liquid gold' for all the cleaning they had to do. One time one of her brothers dropped one of the buckets and their dad told him to go back and fetch another."

Karen added: " She is just a genuine and nice person and she is really funny. She told me a story about riding her bike into a hedge when she was younger and being thrown over the top. She laughed a lot about that."