A WOMAN from Torfaen who celebrated her 100th birthday this week has said keeping independent is her secret to a long life.

Clarissa Pearl Williams – who reached her century on Monday, September 23 – was born in Pontypool, and worked at the Three Salmons Hotel in Usk until she was 78 years old.

Mrs Williams said keeping independent was her secret to such a long life.

“I worked until I was 78, and I didn’t want to stop then,” she said. “I’m still quite independent, I think that is my secret.”

Although she moved to London to work looking after children for a family in Wimbledon when she was 15 years old, and later worked at a hotel in the West End, she later moved back to Wales, where she married Alfred Williams, who worked for Monmouthshire County Council as a lorry driver and later as an ambulance driver, on March 17, 1940.

“I enjoyed working in Wimbledon,” she said. “I’ve gone back a few times since I moved back.

“I’ve always loved going to see shows. I would go to watch them with my husband in Usk,” she said.

“I loved seeing comedians – I saw Tommy Cooper and Bruce Forsyth. Where I worked at the Three Salmons, that was where they all stayed too, so I would meet all of the stars.”

Mr Williams died in 1980, and a couple of years later, Mrs Williams moved back to Torfaen.

“It’s a different life all together,” she said comparing what it was like in the borough when she originally left for London, and when she came back.

She reminisced about her 80th birthday celebration, where her daughters took her for a flight on Concorde.

Mrs Williams celebrated her big day surrounded by her family, including her 90-year-old sister Mary Stone, and her great-great nephew Evan.

Mrs Williams has two daughters, Barbara and Christine, three grandchildren – Nigel, John and Sarah, two great-grandchildren – James and Dominic, and a great-great grandson.

She was “very excited” to receive her card from the Queen, and also received a card from first minister Mark Drakeford.