THE country's 28th oldest resident, 109-year-old Grace Jones, from Broadway, says a little tot of whisky each evening before bed is the secret to longevity and has had a small glass each night for the past 57 years.

Mrs Jones, the youngest of three sisters, celebrated her milestone birthday with family and friends at Buckland Manor, near Broadway today (Wednesday) where she enjoyed a reception followed by lunch in the morning room.

In her 20s she owned a millinery factory in her home city of Liverpool and met her husband, Leonard, a chief engineer. They had one daughter, Deirdre McCarthy, and spent most of their married life moving around the country - 28 times in total - and lived in Devonshire, Cheshire and North Wales. Later they moved to Mickleton to live near their daughter.

Mrs McCarthy, a trained cabaret singer, dancer and pianist who worked under her mother's maiden name of Grace Rich, said moving so much appeared to have kept her young at heart.

"She is still very particular over her appearance and insists on always looking her best. Once she married my father she very much became a lady of leisure.

"She enjoys meeting people and still reads a little and watches television. Each week her carer takes her into Broadway where she likes to do a little shopping if the weather is nice; she is in amazing health but her hearing is poor now." said Mrs McCarthy.

For the past 10 years Mrs Jones has lived at Pegasus Court, in Broadway, and looks forward to her outings.

"I still feel the same as I did when I was 60," she said when asked about her thoughts on reaching 109.

"The best memory of my life was when I married my husband. He was a true gentleman, the son of a parson. We were always together and we loved one another."