A HAPPY marriage and fresh bread are among the secrets to a long life - says a Bromsgrove woman who is officially one of the oldest people in the country.

Grace Cooper recently celebrated her 106th birthday, joining an elite group of just 820 UK residents aged over 105 (according to Office for National Statistics).

To mark the occasion, the team at Burcot Lodge Care Home, where Grace lives, organised a socially distanced cello concert which was enjoyed by all residents.

The team at Burcot also arranged to sponsor a Guide Dog for the Blind, which will be called ‘Cooper’, in honour of Grace turning 106.

Grace was born on July 21, 1914, in Winnipeg in Canada and came to England with her parents when she was 16 years old.

She trained as a nurse at Hampstead General Hospital and worked at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Northfield, ending her career as a matron.

Married to a Baptist minister and mother to two step-daughters, Grace said she credits her long life to a happy marriage, hard work, good living and to eating fresh bread.

Victoria Osbourne, Burcot Lodge general manager, said: “Despite current social distancing restrictions, all the staff at Burcot Lodge made every effort to make Grace feel special on her big day, turning 106 is such an amazing achievement.

"A member of our team helped to style Grace’s hair in our on-site salon, she looked wonderful and it was a fantastic day for us all.”