PLENTY of games to keep your brain active – that is the secret to a long and healthy life according to Roma Teal, who has just celebrated her 104th birthday.
Mrs Teal – aunt to music legend David Bowie – plays Scrabble and whist and even has a Scrabble dictionary to hand.
“I like to play games, I always have,” said Mrs Teal, who celebrated the milestone birthday on Wednesday at Connaught Court, Fulford, where she has lived for five years.
Mrs Teal grew up in Bramley, Leeds, with her grandparents after her parents died during the First World War. She has an extensive family, including three daughters – Pat, Brenda and Christine – and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Among her relatives is Grammy Award-winning David Bowie, her nephew, who she remembers as a youngster rather than as the eccentric Space Oddity singer.
Roma said: “I don’t remember him being musical, but I suppose he was, he must have been. He grew up in London in a little semi-detached house and visited me in Leeds a couple of times. The only similarities I can see now are our two front teeth.”
Growing up during the war, Mrs Teal spent a lot of time visiting nursing homes with her grandmother.
“I was only seven, but I loved it. I lived with them all my life until I got married in 1933.”
Mrs Teal met her husband George during her school years and instantly connected over their love of games. He became a sports teacher and played rugby, while she was a keen hockey player.
“He did manage to get me involved in rugby, but only making cups of tea,” she said.
“I played hockey throughout school until I was married, but then I played any sport that was going.”
Mrs Teal, who married and lived in Chapel Allerton, Leeds, for many years, said: “I loved having a family and I moved to Dunnington to be near my daughter and I lived there for about 34 years.”
Mrs Teal celebrated her birthday at Connaught Court with a sherry party followed by a visit from St Oswald’s Primary School pupils who sang Supercalifrag-ilistic and Happy Birthday.
Stephanie Taylor. activities coordinator at Connaught Court, said: “Mrs Teal is certainly very lively and she really enjoyed her birthday. She’s a real character and is very well thought of here.”