‘Eat all the things you fancy’: Bellingham woman reveals secret to long life on 100th birthday

She is currently on her 21st Prime Minister and has outlived the Queen, who was born three years after her. 

She witnessed world war while serving in a Chislehurst pub when she wasn’t diving into air raid shelters next door. 

And she happens to have lived as long as the estate in Bellingham where she lives – which is celebrating its centenary milestone this year.

Few have accumulated as many years of South London life as Margaret Campbell, who was born in Sydenham in January 1923 and has just celebrated her 100th birthday. 

Now living in the Phoenix community home at Hazlehurst Court on the Bellingham estate in Beckenham Hill Road, where she was toasted by family and friends, Margaret retains many happy memories of her childhood and even of the war. 

“I had a nice life growing up,” she said. “We didn’t have any keys, or worry about leaving our doors open, that’s just what we did. Everyone knew each other and was friendly. We all used to get along.  it was a magical time. 

“Through the war, I worked at a pub in Chislehurst, right next to the caves which were used as an air raid shelter.

“During bombing raids, we used to go down the caves and have a dance and a sing to keep us occupied. There were even bunk beds so we could sleep in the caves overnight and a canteen for if it was a long raid.” 

Margaret’s daughter, Debbie Young, organised the party, attended by 40 people, who enjoyed food, music, dancing and stories of her life.  

When asked what the secret to a long life was, Mrs Campbell said: “Eat at all the things you fancy, that’s what I’ve always said.”  

Pictured top: Margaret with her daughter, Debbie, at the birthday bash (Picture: Phoenix Housing Association)

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