WINIFRED Stevens was full of joy surrounded by family and friends for her 103rd birthday party yesterday.

The pensioner, known as Freda, welcomed loved ones including her two great-grandchildren and former neighbours at the Waypoints care home in Verwood, where she has lived for the past year.

She enjoyed chocolate-covered strawberries and other treats before cutting her cake.

“It’s been a very nice day,” she said.

“It’s not every day you’re 103 and it’s been lovely seeing everybody.”

Freda moved to Poole Lane in West Howe with her late husband Reg, a carpenter, and daughter Pauline in 1962.

They moved into an annexe at Pauline’s house in Ashley Heath in 1987 before Reg died 20 years ago.

Freda grew up in a small village in Norfolk as one of eight siblings.

During the First World War one of her sisters died when she was poisoned working in a munitions factory and two brothers were killed in action.

Pauline, 75, said it was great having the gathering at the care home and praised staff there.

“It’s been so exciting today.

“This is a fantastic place and they’ve been excellent to her.”

Freda’s granddaughters Julie Birkbeck and Carolyn Furber, their respective husbands Anthony and Grant, plus Freda’s great grandchildren Alix and Bradley were among those at the birthday party.

Julie, from Verwood, said: “It’s handy being local because we can pop in any time and it’s treated like a real home from home here.

“When you think how she was alive in the First World War it really brings it home what she has lived through. Until two or three years ago she was still doing her own shopping and cooking.”