A Hartford woman who lived through the Blitz in London has celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends.

Sophia Long, who lives at Hunters Down Care Home, in Hartford Road, enjoyed a party to mark the milestone.

Mrs Long was born in 1916 in Mile End, London, and took on a number of unusual and challenging jobs throughout her working life. Her first job was as a cleaner before she went on to make Sterling Cars and construct cinema screens.

"I help made the cinema screens; I used to have to climb on the tables to be able to make them as they were the size of a room."

During the Second World War, Mrs Long contributed to the war effort by making uniforms for soldiers who were conscripted into the services.

"You had to work hard at this job. You had to sleep during the day and then work at night," Mrs Long recalled.

Despite her hard work Mrs Long's family said she would always keep people's spirits up during the long nights in the shelters by singing to them.

"I had to keep the children from getting miserable as they didn't really understand what was happening. I remember that David [Mrs Long's son] used to run out and look at the planes."

Mrs Long met her husband, Ted, when they were both teenagers and they married when they were 21.

The pair went on to have four children, eight grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

Mrs Long said that the secret to her long and happy life had been hard work.