A NORTH Belfast woman who recently celebrated her 100th birthday says the key to a long life is “to enjoy a wee tipple, or two!”

Louisa Wilson has lived in Sunningdale Gardens for nearly five decades, and still manages independently in her home.

As well as marking her special birthday on April 12, Louisa was paid a visit by the Housing Executive for being one of their longest tenancies on record.  

Born on the Crumlin Road, Louisa later moved to Rosebank Street when she married her late husband, Jimmy in 1940 and they had one son, named Jim. 

Louisa worked in Goorwitch’s Fashion in Belfast in their millinery department and in the Arcade at Donegal Place.

During the mid-seventies, the couple then moved to a ground floor flat in Sunningdale Gardens – a more accessible home for Jimmy who had mobility issues.

Louisa, who is grandmother to Karen and Robert and great-grandmother to Adam, Rachel, Philip and Mark, said she had a “wonderful” birthday. 

“After a difficult year with Covid-19 and not being able to see a lot of people, it was lovely being able to celebrate outside with everyone,” she said.

“A piper from the church also came and played outside my house too and it was so nice to see everyone making a fuss.

 “I got so many flowers and boxes of chocolates and sweets and it was also lovely to get my letter from the Queen and Irish President, Michael D Higgins.” 

Son Jim helps to care for his mum, along with his wife Rhoda and daughter, Karen.

 “Mum’s birthday celebrations lasted a total of four days – thanks to a weekend of glorious sunshine,” explained Jim.

 Louisa Wilson with daughter-in-law Rhoda, son, Jim and Housing Executive’s North Belfast Area Manager, Gerard Flynn

Louisa Wilson with daughter-in-law Rhoda, son, Jim and Housing Executive’s North Belfast Area Manager, Gerard Flynn

“Members of the congregation from Eglinton Presbyterian Church also took part in a drive-by horn blowing celebration for mum and made a fuss of her.

“She is hugely independent and really enjoyed the socially distanced celebrations and the Housing Executive has been very good to mum and looked after her well over the years.”

Housing Executive Area Manager for North Belfast, Gerard Flynn called with Louisa to congratulate her on her long tenancy and becoming a centenarian. 

He said: “It has been a pleasure getting to know Louisa and her family. She is an excellent tenant and I am delighted that Louisa had a wonderful birthday and was able to spend it with her loved ones. 

“Sunningdale Gardens has a very close-knit community and it is great to hear that Louisa can still engage with her neighbours and they look after one another too. A big happy birthday once again to Louisa and I wish her many more to come!”