BEING surrounded by good friends is one of the keys to living a long life – that’s the verdict of Margaret Jarvis. And she should know what she’s talking about.

Great-great-grandmother Margaret celebrated her 100th birthday last Saturday.

Margaret, originally from Hackney, London, was evacuated to Reading during the First World War and from Middlesex to Devon, with her first daughter, during the Second World War.

She and her husband Gordon went on to have a total of four children and brought them up in Claygate, Sussex, where she worked as a personal assistant and as a telephone operator. She originally trained as a seamstress in London.

The family moved to Basingstoke in the 1980s, and in 1992, Margaret and Gordon moved in with their eldest daughter Merle and her husband Hugh in Meadow End, Baughurst, where Margaret has remained since Gordon’s death in 1994.

Margaret said she has enjoyed living in the area, adding: “I have made a lot of friends here.”

When asked about the secret to living such a long life, she said: “I think it is friends – it is being surrounded by good friends.”

On Tuesday, Margaret met up with dozens of her friends from the Age Concern Tadley and District group for a birthday celebration at the Ambrose Allen Centre, in Franklin Avenue.

The group, who meet for their lunch club every Tuesday morning, celebrated with a cake and some speeches, including one from Margaret herself, who has 13 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Just a few months ago, the club celebrated another 100th birthday, that of Edith Danby, of Tadley, and she was there to wish Margaret a happy birthday on Tuesday. The birthday card Edith sent to her friend read: “From one centenarian to another”.