A love of swimming is key for Joyce as she celebrates turning 106

Joyce Hardwick celebrated her 106th birthday

Joyce Hardwick celebrated her 106th birthday - Credit: Archant

A former midwife who celebrated her 106th birthday says the secret to long life could be her love of swimming.

Joyce Hardwick, who is the oldest resident at Oakleigh Residential Care Home, in Alconbury Weston, marked her milestone on Saturday with a birthday buffet and a slice of cake.

Born to William and Agnes Grace Hardwick in St Ives, on May 13, 1911, Joyce was the eldest of four children.

As a youngster she was taught to swim and passed on her skill to sister Sybil and two brothers, Arthur and William.

“I loved swimming, we had a pool in St Ives, a nice little swimming pool, and I said to my brothers and sister if I can swim so can you,” Ms Hardwick said.

Ms Hardwick recalls her memories of spending time at the swimming pool and having fun with her siblings.

She said: “When they opened the swimming pool my mother used to have trouble to get me to live at home.

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“When the place used to open up in the spring they [my parents] couldn’t get me interested in anything else.”

Along with swimming, Ms Hardwick enjoyed playing the piano, cooking, reading about the lives of others, and holidays to Hunstanton with her father.

During the Second World War she trained as a midwife after helping with the war effort as a part of the Red Cross.

“My mother had my baby brother when I was old enough to love him - that started me off,” Ms Hardwick said, talking about her journey into midwifery.

“I was determined to be a midwife after my brother was born, I thought that was lovely, and then I never wanted to do anything else.”

Throughout her career she delivered hundreds of babies, including a member of staff at the care home, and the children of some fellow residents.

“It wasn’t hard work for me as I loved being busy,” Ms Hardwick, who never had children of her own, added.

As well as enjoying her career Ms Hardwick used to keep house for her father.

Ms Hardwick, a resident at the care home for about 15 years, now enjoys listening to the radio and delights in having an old fashioned beef Sunday roast with Yorkshire puddings.

Along with her party at the weekend, Ms Hardwick was visited by her niece, Louise, who had travelled from London to attend the celebrations.