INDEPENDENT Doris Brown only decided to leave her own home at the age of 99 after facing the gruelling task of raking up 17 bags of fallen leaves.

But as she celebrated her 105th birthday at Evergreens Rest Home in Bournemouth yesterday, the great-great-grandmother said her passion remains being outside in the garden.

“I’ve always loved garden-ing,” said Mrs Brown.

“It has been something I have very much enjoyed.”

Although she said she couldn’t pick her favourite flower, as she loves them all, one of her grandchildren named a rose after her.

Mrs Brown – who was born at home in Parkstone in 1909 – even credits being outdoors in the fresh air often for her long and happy life, although she added: “I also take cod liver oil every day.”

She attended East Howe school until she was 14, when she left to be-come a house-keeper at a boys’ school, and then in private houses.

After marrying her husband Cyril at St Luke’s in Winton, the two lived in Bournemouth until Mr Brown’s death in 1989.

Mrs Brown then moved to Basingstoke to be near her daughter, before returning to her home town shortly before her 100th birthday.

Grandson Ian Adams said: “She really has had the most fantastic life.

“After my grandfather retired from his job as a gas engineer, they went travelling around the world. They bought a car in New Zealand, travelled the length of the country and then sold it at the other end.

“They had some wonderful adventures – it would be easier to list the places she hasn’t visited than those she has.”

Mrs Brown spent her birthday surrounded by friends and family, including her youngest relative, great-great-grandchild Paige, two.

She said: “I’m having a lovely day.”