A kindly pillar of the community, who devoted her life to helping others, has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Devout Christian, Ivy Yoakley, was joined by friends and family at Ledbury Nursing Home to mark the special anniversary.

The day was a real celebration of her busy and eventful life.

Born in Redmarley, Gloucestershire, on May 2, 1919, Mrs Yoakley first came to Ledbury to attend the grammar school in the 1920s.

Leaving school at the age of 14, with no jobs available in the local area, she moved to London and took on a role as a kitchen maid, later meeting and marrying husband, Joe.

As well as her faith, Mrs Yoakley’s passions included gardening and cooking and she became known for delivering home-made cakes to friends and neighbours who were unwell or feeling down.

Through their connections with the church in London, the couple also took in many people who needed temporary accommodation, including workers from the local hospital and students who had left home.

After their two children, Richard and May Rose, left home, the couple moved to Ledbury in 1963 to care for Mrs Yoakley’s elderly mother, joining the congregation and becoming stewards at the Ledbury Baptist Church.

After her husband’s death in the early 1990s, she continued living in the town, before moving to Ledbury Nursing Home last year, at the sprightly age of 99.

Mrs Yoakley was joined for the celebration by staff from the nursing home, son Richard, and daughter-in-law, Sally, who had travelled over from New Zealand, family from Devon, members of her ‘church’ family and old friends and neighbours.

Reverend Ian Sim, pastor at Ledbury Baptist Church when the couple first moved to the area, was also invited to give a reading and lead prayers to mark the occasion.

After opening her official card from the Queen, Mrs Yoakley was treated to her favourite sweet treat – a lemon curd birthday cake – before revealing that her secret to longevity was “having Jesus in her life.”

Anita Kinnear, activities champion at Ledbury Nursing Home, said: “Ivy’s been an absolute treat to have in the home since moving here last year.

“Despite her advanced years, she hasn’t lost her energy or wit, and often entertains residents and staff with a hymn ‘sing-a-long.’

“I’m proud to have played a part in these celebrations and hope that Ivy, her friends and family enjoyed it as much as I did.”