Mrs Adelina Longe-Everty, believed to be the UK's oldest woman is today celebrating her 118th birthday. Born in 1900, the Long Crichel resident has survived two world wars and eight marriages - the last in 1976 to 24 year old Opportunity Knocks contestant Dick Chancer. [Dick later found fame as the tambourine player and backing vocalist in the Led Zepplin tribute band The Heavy Dirigibles.]
Beginning life as a farm girl in Margaret Marsh, Adelina answered the call for munitions factory workers, moving to Cheselbourne in 1916 where she met her future husband, factory owner Helmut Siemens-Krupp-Fanshawe (a naturalised Silesian). Adelina rose to become Head of Production Line 4. However her first "and happiest" marriage did not survive an explosion at the factory in 1919; largely because her husband didn't either.
She then enjoyed what she described in a 2004 interview as "an uneventful life - apart that is from becoming the youngest ever leader of the Chinese Communist Party (aged 97)"
Adelina will be spending a quiet day today with paramedics, family and friends - including her 2 surviving sisters, 4 children, 13 grandchildren 37 great grandchildren, 148 great-great grandchildren and 598 great-great-great grandchildren. "The cakes alone is a bloody nightmare" said great-great granddaughter Muriel Lowe-Esteem, "I don't think I can cope."
Asked the secret of her long life, Mrs Longe-Everty puts it down to hard work, clean living and inorganic cheese. Carer and long-time friend Mrs Winifred Helpmeet says that Adelina is never without a bit of Dorsetshire Blue™. "She always has a little piece nearby and nibbles on it whenever the fancy takes her. She used to get through a lot but now its more an occasional drool. Still it seems to do the trick. She's never had a day's illness in her life and she's as regular as clockwork - we change her at 9am and 9pm on the dot!"
Dorsetshire Blue™ is still on offer at all branches of Threadbone Extra and has been declared "almost certainly completely safe for human consumption" by Threadbone Laboratory scientists. However, those with pet rodents are asked to "deploy it thoughtfully".
An eventful life. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Opportunity Knocks with genial host Hughie Greene, the source of endless merriment and of Mrs Longe-Everty's eighth and final husband, pop idol Dick Chancer; Mrs Longe-Everty addresses the Chinese Communist Party in 1997; Mrs Longe-Everty pictured in 1970 in her beloved Long Crichel's municipal park; preparations for that cake: Mrs Longe-Everty had requested a Dorsetshire Blue Cheesecake, but Health and Safety advisors suggested it might not hold together under the weight.