Spitfire dream for centenarian

PUBLISHED: 14:00 14 November 2008 | UPDATED: 07:06 30 May 2010

Margaret McAlpine celebrates her birthday

Margaret McAlpine celebrates her birthday

AN AMAZING lady celebrated her 101st birthday last week just one year after paragliding in Cyprus to celebrate her century. Margaret McAlpine, or Mrs Mac as she is known, celebrated with 50 friends at a surprise party at the Maltings in Dunmow on Thursday

AN AMAZING lady celebrated her 101st birthday last week just one year after paragliding in Cyprus to celebrate her century.

Margaret McAlpine, or Mrs Mac as she is known, celebrated with 50 friends at a surprise party at the Maltings in Dunmow on Thursday evening and vowed to fly in a Spitfire fighter plane before her next.

Most of the guests were from the historical society, of which Mrs Mac is a valued member and honorary life president, and chairman Peter Street paid tribute to what an energetic lady she is.

He said: "She was the first secretary of our History and Literary Society, and for many years now has been our Honorary Life Vice President.

"Four years ago, when she was 97, she went to live in Northern Cyprus with her daughter, Elizabeth Forsyth. Of course we had a farewell party for her then, giving her a framed picture of St. Mary's Church here in Dunmow - a place much loved by her.

"At that party she invited everyone present to come to her 100th birthday party, when she would return to England and celebrate it with us."

However, last year she was too busy paragliding from the Troodos Mountains to come back to England. "Some who saw the photographs of her strapped to the back of a handsome young man thought she had found other reasons to stay in Cyprus!" added Mr Street. "So we had our party for Mrs Mac, not at 100 but at 101.

"She really is an incredible lady. She went round to every table, and chatted to everybody present while we enjoyed the marvellous buffet and wine provided by her fellow members of the History Society. It was a wonderful evening."

Once Mrs Mac had been dragged away from her tour of the tables, she was invited to cut the special birthday cake which had one candle on it to signify that she was now at the first year of her second century.

Whilst the cake was being cut up, gifts and cards were presented and Mrs Mac thanked everyone for coming before receiving her final gift of a bottle of malt whiskey. She said: "I was 90 when I last got one of these and look at me now. I bet I can carry on for a lot longer yet!"

E-mail your birthday message for Mrs Mac at nick.thompson@archant.co.uk or by texting 07804 217 442.

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