A woman who lived through two World Wars has celebrated her 104th birthday surrounded by friends and care home staff.

Edith Mears, of The Chantry in The Ridgeway, Chingford, turned 104 yesterday, making her the second oldest woman in Waltham Forest. 

Ms Mears said the secret to a long and prosperous life is a "good, healthy diet, and the odd sherry on special occasions."

The former secretary at the Bank of England after the Second World War was showered in gifts and flowers as friends gathered at the care home to wish her happy birthday. 

The mother-of-one was given a surprise vocal performance by Show Boat, a group of ex-West End entertainers.

Part-time manager Maggie Rickard said Ms Mears, a resident of eight years, was on top form at today's celebrations.

"Edith is a wonderful, sociable lady and has had a lovely day. She is in reasonably good health and still has a very good sense of humour," said Ms Rickard.