AN ANIMAL lover with a ‘heart of gold’ celebrated her 105th birthday surrounded by friends yesterday.

Joyce Massie, who is currently residing at St Ives House, Ashley Heath, was born on April 12, 1909.

Staff at the home presented Joyce with flowers and cake two days in advance of the big day as fellow residents sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to her.

Joyce said she was grateful for the effort the home had made and that she felt lucky to be surrounded by such ‘lovely people’.

“I can’t believe I’m still here,” she added.

“I can remember a long way back – even being in my cot and looking up at my mother.”

Born more than five years before the outbreak of World War I, Joyce recounted enjoying her childhood and growing up in her hometown of Richmond.

She later worked in civil defence and spent many years happily married to husband Cecil. After his death Joyce indulged her love of travelling and went on cruises around the world.

Joyce said she does not know what the secret to her longevity is, but that she used to take pleasure from going for cycle rides and reading. Joyce moved into St Ives House seven years ago and staff said she is popular and loves to participate in activities.

Elaine Cockerill-Wright, who organises entertainment at the home, said they were delighted to help Joyce celebrate, presenting her with a commemorative plaque which included a picture of the birthday girl showing off her trademark beaming smile. Senior carer Lisa Penfold described Joyce’s affection for animals and said the wall of her room is adorned by pictures of a beloved pet dog.

Lisa added: “She’s absolutely lovely and I always enjoy our conversations.

“Joyce truly has a heart of gold and she would do anything for anyone.”