A century old and Mina still loves a laugh

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A unique celebration was held at Banbridge Library recently when staff organised a birthday party for their oldest patron, Dromore resident and centenarian Mina Spratt.

Mina’s granddaughter, Denise McGuigan Vage, praised the staff at the library for their kind gesture to mark Mina’s 100th birthday.

Mina, who loves romantic novels, had read all the books at Dromore Library and so started visiting Banbridge Library.

Denise said: “The staff there were joking with her that she was probably their oldest customer, but when they found out she had recently turned 100 they couldn’t believe it.

“Later she got a call from them asking her to come in for a wee cup of tea to celebrate her 100th birthday. They had birthday cake and tea prepared and presented her with a lovely card and bunch of flowers.”

The library also invited Bob Anderson to celebrate - he turned 97 on the day of the party.

“It was so very very thoughtful of the staff and much appreciated.”

In June Mina celebrated her birthday at the Belmont Hotel along with over 50 of her family and friends.

“The table settings, room, food and service were just lovely,” said Denise. “The Belmont really excelled themselves and my grandmother loved it.

“She’s still talking about it and she said it was just like a fairytale - really marvellous.

“She didn’t want any presents for her birthday - she said ‘what would I need presents for?’ So instead she collected money which she donated to her great grandson’s school - Donard Special School. She’s remarkable.”

Mina was also delighted to receive her telegraph from the Queen.

Denise said: “My grandmother doesn’t look her age and she loves a laugh and a giggle. She watches Countdown every day and calls out the answers.”

Mina still lives at home in Dromore with her 80 year old daughter Eileen McRoberts.

Eileen said: “There aren’t too many 80 year old women who can still talk about their mother. It’s a privilege to have her - she’s my mum and my best friend.”

Having lived all her life in Dromore, Mina has seen many changes in the town since 1916.

Eileen said: “My mum talks of the time when you could walk down Gallows Street into the town and you knew everybody, but not now.”

As for the secret to long life Eileen says her mum hasn’t said anything about that, so whatever it is - Mina’s not giving too much away.