A FORMER headmistress who taught hundreds of children in Blackburn has turned 100 – and said the secret to reaching a century was to ‘enjoy life’.

Lois Ashton, who has lived at her home in Sunnybank Road, Blackburn, for 90 years, was joined by family members as she celebrated reaching the landmark.

After getting her teaching degree in 1938, Lois went on to work as a teacher for the best part of 40 years before retiring, aged 60, in 1978.

She said: “Teaching was something I really enjoyed.

“The children and parents were nice and it was something I was passionate about.”

Her first teaching job was at a primary school in Manchester where she worked for six months before finding work in the reception class at Emmanuel School, Blackburn, in 1939.

Lois then went on to become a headmistress in the infant department of the school where she worked until her retirement.

She said: “Teaching is something I was passionate about from an early age.”

Born in William Street, Blackburn, Lois spent the first ten years of her life there before moving to Sunnybank Road where she has lived ever since.

She also enjoys art, travelling and is a life-long church member.

Lois said; “I’m very artistic, so I like decorating Fabergé eggs, which I would make and give to friends and church members for special birthdays.

“I’m also a member of the local church, Church of the Savour, and was a member of Christ Church when I was younger.

“My religion is a way of life and something I’m very passionate about and that is very precious to me.

“I also enjoy travelling and visited a lot of countries when I was younger including European places such as Turkey, Switzerland, Italy and the old Yugoslavia.

“I’ve also been to Thailand and India.

“I used to go birdwatching a lot in the Yorkshire Dales and South Lakes.”

Lois, who was joined by family members including her nieces Ro-Ro Kingsford and Sheila Loughlin, looked overjoyed as she held up her card from the Queen.

She added: “My secret to living long is to just enjoy life and have lots of fun.

“I’ve always enjoyed my food and like puddings and sweet things.”