Isle Of Wight Woman Turns 109
6 August 2013, 08:49
A great-great-grandmother who has embraced Facebook and modern technology is celebrating her 109th birthday.
Lily Strugnell, who lives at Barchester's Orchard House care home in Newport, on the Isle of Wight, was born the eldest of 11 children on August 6, 1904, in Portsmouth.
The daughter of a fisherman, she started her life technology-free - the first known photograph of her was when she married at the age of 22.
But now Mrs Strugnell is happy looking at family photos on Facebook and even has her own dedicated page allowing friends and relatives to keep in touch.
She said: "I couldn't write my name until I went to school, when teachers stuck a pencil in my hand I thought it was a stick. We didn't even own a camera because we couldn't afford it.''
On modern technology, such as the iPad of her grand-daughter Debbie Turner that she uses to view Facebook, she said: "It's like magic.''
Mrs Turner, 52, said that although her grandmother was a living example of an older time, she had adapted to learn about the internet and computers.
She said: 'We take so much for granted now, when she went to school, she didn't have shoes.
"You can't imagine a child going to school without shoes nowadays, although she had shoes to go to church on Sundays.
"And when she was young she didn't have a car, she walked or caught the tram, they didn't have a car until the late 1950s.
"At the age of 107 she had to learn how to use a telephone, she had never had a telephone of her own.
"We bought her one with big buttons and she coped with it really, really well.''
Mrs Turner said that she had set up a Facebook page for her grandmother to help her keep in contact with friends and family.
She said she helps her grandmother update the page, which has 300 followers, with photos and status updates of her life in the nursing home.
Mrs Turner said: "I think she's amazing. With Facebook one of the nice things is a lot of family she has lost touch with have found her and been able to get in contact.
"It's a lovely side-effect from Facebook that she has had messages from all over the world.''
Mrs Strugnell, who saw the Titanic set sail, said the secret of her longevity was: "Strong will, plenty of patience and hard work.''
Karen Oliver, general manager at Orchard House, said: "Lily is an absolute joy to care for and always makes the staff smile."
Lily is the mother of four, grandmother to three, great grandmother to four and great great grandmother to three.