Shropshire Star

103-year-old Hilda reveals the secrets to a long life as she celebrates a big birthday with family

Balloons, cards and cakes were on display as a Shrewsbury woman celebrated her 103rd birthday in style.

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Hilda Cross celebrating her 103rd birthday at Montgomery House with her daughter Joyce Boneham, son Fred Boneham, Louise Kirkbride and Carol Baker

Hilda Cross, who was born in Bolton on February 21, 1920, began her celebrations early with a meal with eight members of her family and believes the secret to her longevity is "keeping active and busy".

Hilda, a resident at Montgomery House in Sundorne Road, also smiled as she admitted: "I also enjoy a tot of brandy every night and a glass of wine with dinner."

Hilda, who enjoys trips out with her family, met her late husband, Alfred Cross, while working in a laundry during the war.

Hilda Cross and her husband Alfred Cross on their wedding day in Bolton.

They were married in 1944 during the Second World War after he had taken part in a gruelling tour of North Africa and the defence of Malta.

Demobbed in 1946, he became a policeman in Liverpool and after retirement the couple moved to Trefnant in North Wales.

Alfred sadly died shortly before his 90th birthday in 2001.

The couple had two children and the extended family now includes five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

On holiday in the Isle of Man with daughters L-R: Jean Wright and Joyce Boneham..

Hilda, who loved knitting and crochet as well as gardening and walking, stayed in their home until she was 100 years old.

However, during the pandemic, she suffered a fall and a broken leg and moved to the Montgomery House care home.

Still smartly dressed, Hilda said that she loved reading novels about the war years and romances.

She also reads a women's magazine each week and also admits to people-watching along the street as she sits in the sitting room.

Hilda was surrounded by cards and balloons as her family arrived for the celebrations which included cake, Baileys and Sherry.

Pic in Shrewsbury at Montgomery House, where Hilda Cross was celebrating her 103rd birthday. Pics of her and her daughter: Joyce Boneham 77. Also on some is Fed Boneham, Louise Kirkbride (in cream) and black jacket is: Carol Baker.