A FORMER Oxfordshire teacher has reached a birthday milestone and she puts it all down to eating lots of vegetables and having a tot of whisky.

Hilda Wallington celebrated her 100th birthday yesterday at her home in High Street, Ludgershall, near Bicester, with card, gifts and a telegram from the Queen.

The mother-of-one, who used to teach at St Edburg’s and Chesterton schools, is also a proficient organist, having played for 80 years.

She was taught in St Nicholas’ Church, in Piddington, and has played in dozens of churches over the past eight decades including Bicester, Kidlington and Thame.

Mrs Wallington married her late husband Percy in 1937 after meeting him when he delivered coal to her parents’ Piddington home, and the pair moved to nearby Ludgershall.

She said: “There were not many cars around in those days and Percy had the only car in the village. That’s what attracted me to my husband, he had a car and no-one else did.”

Mrs Wallington said their lives were not really affected by the Second World War, but she did remember a bomb dropping at nearby Brill and a plane crashing near her home. The pilot of the British aircraft had ejected, and survived.

She said: “I have had so many experiences in life, but the most important was having my son Nicholas.”

Asked the secret of a long life, she said: “Plenty of veg — I have always eaten a lot – and a whisky every day.”

Mrs Wallington’s birthday will be the centre of a songs of praise at St Nicholas’ Church, Piddington, on Sunday, followed by a party at Ludgershall village hall.