Meet the 109-year-old Facebook gran

In the year Walsall's Victoria Southan was born Albert Einstein graduated from university and Winston Churchill was first elected to the House of Commons.

Meet the 109-year-old Facebook gran

In the year Walsall's Victoria Southan was born Albert Einstein graduated from university and Winston Churchill was first elected to the House of Commons.

Mrs Southan, of Streetly, was today preparing for her 110th birthday.

Born on 24 May 1900, she is now thought to be the 13th oldest person in the country, but her grand old age is not stopping the great-grandmother getting to grips with 21st century technology.

She even has her own Facebook site, set up by her grandchildren, which currently has more than 180 friends.

Mrs Southan grew up on Raleigh Road, Wolverhampton, to parents Edward and Amy Penn.

Today she was treated to a party by day centre staff at Alrewych Court, in Aldridge, Walsall, surrounded by family and friends. Mrs Southan, whose husband Walter died in 1994, still lives alone independently.

She has now looked back on her amazing life and revealed the secret to her longevity was drinking lots of water.

She said: "I left school at 12 and had to get a certificate to say that I could work."

The certificate related to the Factory and Workshop Act 1910, which allowed children to work.

During wartime, Mrs Southan worked in a Birmingham factory making bullets.

She said: "At the end of the First World War we did not have enough to eat. That is what sticks out in my mind.

"We would look in the cupboard and there was nothing."

Today's party came just four days before her big day on Monday, when relatives are planning a day out at Birmingham's Botanical Gardens - a favourite of Mrs Southan and her husband.

The couple had a daughter Jean, now aged 74, two grandchildren, Lynn, aged 41, and 43-year-old Claire, as well as a great-grandaughter called Rossie, aged seven.

The Express & Star sponsored Mrs Southan to attend the Queen Mother's 100th birthday party in London in 2000.

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