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'I've only gone to see the doctor once in my life' - Irish woman celebrates 108th birthday


Maud Nicholl celebrating her 108th birthday at the Tullyglass Hotel in Ballymena

Maud Nicholl celebrating her 108th birthday at the Tullyglass Hotel in Ballymena

Maud Nicholl celebrating her 108th birthday at the Tullyglass Hotel in Ballymena

She might have just celebrated her 108th birthday, but Co Antrim woman Maud Nicholl doesn't look like slowing down any time soon.

Born in 1909, Maud said she has only visited a doctor once.

Yesterday, she enjoyed her latest birthday tea party surrounded by friends and family in Ballymena.

A fresh faced and incredibly sprightly Maud chuckled at the very idea she is one of the oldest people in Northern Ireland, insisting: "I don't feel my age in the slightest."

In the years since Maud was born, she has seen four kings and one queen on the throne, 26 different British Prime Ministers and nine Presidents of Ireland.

She has lived through two world wars, the abolition of slavery, votes being given to women and men walking on the moon.

She also welcomed the invention of some of the everyday items we take granted, such as the television, mobile telephones, computers, kitchen appliances that wash and dry our clothes and dishes, microwave ovens and fridge freezers.

Despite all this, it is the simple things in life that continue to make an difference to her.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Maud said: "I don't feel my age in the slightest, in fact I have never felt my age.

"I have never had any illnesses. I went to see the doctor once and I had to get an antibiotic, but that was all.

"When I see other people, younger than me and I see how they are, I know how lucky I am.

"I have a great appetite and I can eat anything. I don't think I ever missed a meal.

"My father loved to grow vegetables, we had a garden full of vegetables so we never went short. When I was growing up where I lived was the countryside and I loved to go for long walks in the fresh air.

"I never had a bicycle. I was able to ride one but I never got one, so I walked everywhere.

"I never learned to drive. My brother had a car, but he wouldn't trust me with it so I never learned.

"He was very good and would take me out and take me anywhere I wanted to go.

"We would go out along the coast. I like Carnlough and the Glens of Antrim."

As well as advocating healthy eating and exercise, Maud was a keen student at school and maintains a love of the written word to this day.

She added: "I always liked school and I was a good pupil. I never had any trouble going to school.

"I learned to read and that stayed with me. I read all sorts of books and I used to wrote poetry, but I don't do that any longer.

"I left school when I was 16 and then I worked a while in Ballymena for a manufacturers and I liked it, the girls were very nice.

"But then my mother died and I had to stay at home and look after my father and my brother.

"I never married, I was friendly with the odd one when I was young, but I never took them too seriously."

Despite her ripe old age, Maud maintains a good level of independence and still lives alone at her home in Ballymena.

She is a much loved member of her neighbourhood and her door is open to her wide circle of friends who pop in every day to make sure she is well.

Maud added: "They are all very good to me - I couldn't have better neighbours and the Church elders are always popping in to see me, too.

"Maureen, my second cousin, is very good to me.

"I call her bossy boots but I don't mean it. She organised this party for me."

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