Sunderland-born great-grandmother says brandy and lemonade is secret to long life on 100th birthday

Ethel May Clark celebrates her 100th birthday at Bannatyne Lodge Care Home
-Credit: (Image: Hill Care Group)

A Sunderland-born great grandmother has said the secret to a long life is brandy and lemonade as she celebrated her 100th birthday.

Ethel May Clark, who was born just five years after the end of the First World War, says the classic cocktail combo helped her to reach a century of age. During her 100th birthday party recently, she was asked what her secret to a long life was and responded: “Brandy and lemonade every day.”

Ethel was joined by family, friends, fellow residents and staff at Bannatyne Lodge Care Home, on Manor Way, Peterlee, for the celebration. Entertainer Joe Armstrong put a show for the guests, and performed some of Ethel’s favourite songs, with everyone enjoying a tipple, including Ethel’s favourite cocktail.

Ethel said: “Oh what a lovely day it’s been seeing all my family and friends. I even got a special card from the King.”

Ethel was born on June 13, 1924 in Sunderland, where she grew up and later met her husband-to-be, Tom, while working at the city’s Pyrex factory. The couple married on Boxing Day 1946 and had three children. They now have three grandchildren and four great grandchildren, many of whom attended the celebration at the care home.

Ethel May Clark and her husband Tom on their wedding day on Boxing Day 1946.
Ethel May Clark and her husband Tom on their wedding day on Boxing Day 1946. -Credit:Hill Care Group

After leaving Pyrex, Ethel worked at a laundrette for over four decades, before eventually retiring. She moved to Bannatyne Lodge Care Home in July 2022. Julie Armstrong, home manager, said: “Ethel had a fantastic birthday party for her 100th .

“We were delighted to welcome her friends and family, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the performance from Joe Armstrong, who really made Ethel’s afternoon. Ethel is an amazing lady and everyone at Bannatyne Lodge would like to congratulate her on her 100th birthday.”