Shropshire Star

A tipple a day and bit of hard work is the key to a long life, says 104-year-old Hilda

One of Shropshire's oldest residents has been raising a glass to celebrate her birthday, after reaching 104 last week.


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Surrounded by cards and balloons, Hilda Cross was joined by 18 members of her family including her daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren for a celebration at the Montgomery House care home in Shrewsbury on Saturday.

Hilda, who turned 104 on Wednesday, was born in Bolton on February 21, 1920 - just two years after the end of the First World War.

It was the start of the 'roaring twenties' and the same year the League of Nations was formed - the forerunner to the United Nations. It was also when America gave women the right to vote.

More than a century on and Hilda is still going strong - and she puts the secret to a long, happy life down to a bit of hard work and a daily tipple.

Hilda Cross celebrating turning 104 with her daughter Joyce Boneham, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Sam Wright, Andrea Birch, Stewart Kirkbride, Max Wright, Lauren Birch, Megan Birch, Alex Kirkbride and Oscar Wright

"I like a glass of wine. Any glass of wine but nothing special. But I only have Bailey's on a special day," said Hilda. "And a brandy at night."

"I don't plan anything. I've just always done the right thing and worked hard. I have always worked hard."

Daughter Joyce Boneham said her mother was born in Bolton and had worked in a laundry in the town during the war, which was where she met her late husband, Alfred Cross.

Hilda on holiday on the Isle of Man with daughters Jean Wright and Joyce Boneham in the 1950s

They were married in 1944. After Alfred was demobbed, he went on to become a police officer in Liverpool and the pair moved to North Wales.

Alfred died in 2001, aged 90, but Hilda and Alfred remained in Wales until only very recently.

Hilda Cross with husband Alfred

"She was living independently in north Wales where she and dad were right up until she was 101," said Joyce. "But Covid and a fall meant she had to come to Montgomery House in Shrewsbury.

"But they really look after her here, although she really loves getting out. We treated her to a birthday lunch at Percy Thrower's restaurant on Wednesday, which she really loves because of all the flowers - she really loves flowers."