Madeline Gates celebrates her 105th birthday at Lymington care home Belmore Lodge
A WOMAN from Lymington who continued cycling until the age of 98 has just celebrated her 105th birthday.
Madeline Gates, née Elgar, was still happily getting on her bike for daily rides until she fell off and broke a hip two years before reaching her century.
Asked for her secret of longevity, Madeline said: “The key to a long life is keeping quiet and out of the way.
“The occasional tot of whisky or gin may help as well.”
The 105-year-old, who lives at Belmore Lodge care home, was born in Lymington during the First World War.
She remembers horse-drawn carriages, delivery carts and homes being lit by gas during her childhood.
Sent to boarding school, Madeleine went on to train at the prestigious Norland College in Bath, which provides child carers to royalty and VIPs.
Madeleine did so well there that she later returned to teach future nannies, some of whom remain good friends and are still in touch with her today.
She met husband-to-be Sydney Gates on return to Lymington and, after tying the knot, they settled into married life first in Rookes Lane then Hamilton Place where she celebrated her 100th birthday.
A keen sailor with her husband and also her younger brother Peter Elgar, to whom she was extremely close, Madeline always believed in keeping fit and healthy.
Sharon Semple, the Colten Care home’s companionship team leader, said: “Madeline had a nice afternoon and was particularly impressed with the card from Her Majesty.
“She wondered if she made it to 110 whether the Queen would visit for a party.”
Madeline marked her milestone birthday with friends Sandra Glandwell and Mary Malcolm who is a fellow Belmore Lodge resident.
Staff at the home baked a special strawberry-topped cake and there were balloons in the shape of 100 above a table displaying the birthday card from the Queen.
Madeline is one of several Belmore Lodge residents who had birthdays of 100 years or more during 2021, the oldest being Mabel Looker who celebrated her 106th.