Worksop: Countdown fan Winnie is still going strong at 102

Winnie Snodin who celebrated her 102nd birthday recently at The Old Vicarage Care Home in Worksop.
Winnie Snodin who celebrated her 102nd birthday recently at The Old Vicarage Care Home in Worksop.

The secret to a long life is good food, a loving family - and Countdown.

Winnie Snowdin has enjoyed all three of these things most in life and she has just celebrated her 102nd birthday.

Winnie, who is a resident at The Old Vicarage Care Home in Worksop, was joined by her son Jeffrey and her niece Margaret, along with fellow residents and staff at the home to celebrate with high tea and plenty of presents, including flowers and chocolates.

Winnie, who was born in Creswell, has only been a resident at the home for a year. Past 100, she was still living independently in the home in Holbeck Woodhouse she shared with her late husband Dennis, for over 40 years.

“My father worked for Welbeck Estates and they looked after him and mum very well,” recalled Jeffrey.

“Mum never had a full-time job as such, she left that to my father. But she did the catering for many years at Lady Margaret Hall, catering for weddings and celebrations.”

“She loved food, she loved cooking and eating good food, especially vegetables, but she used to say she would ‘never have any of that organic muck’.

“She thought organic food was full of chemicals but she’d got it the wrong way round and in fact, the vegetables my father used to grow for them were as organic as you could get.”

“But her appetite is amazing. I recall once she had an operation one afternoon and in the evening when I visited her in hospital, she was there tucking into a plate of fish and chips.”

If Winnie was good with food, she was even better when it came to the popular Channel 4 show Countdown which she watched religiously.

“Woe betide me if I should call her when it was on,” recalled Jeffrey. “She would sit there glued to it trying to work out the words and numbers puzzles, often very successfully.

“Even into her 90s, her enthusiasm was as high as ever and it was only when her hearing started to go that she began to lose some interest.”

As well as being a Countdown queen, Winnie was also a champion bowler, winning both county singles and pairs titles and spending many happy hours at the Welbeck Bowling club with Dennis.

Dennis died in 1995, just six months before he and Winnie would have celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary, but Winnie remained at their home for another 17 years before a fall prompted Jeffrey to bring her to The Old Vicarage where she proudly has her telegram from The Queen that she received on her 100th birthday by her bed.

And as she enjoyed a drink of sherry with her family and friends at the home, she reiterated her three secrets for a long life.

“I like food, she said quietly, “and Countdown, and a happy family, that makes a good life.”