A PROUD Kidderminster woman has reached 100 years of age.

Dorothy May Ballard, known as Mercy, has lived in Tomkinson Drive for 74 years, and celebrates her century milestone today.

Mercy worked at Tomkinson carpet factory and regularly attended St Ambrose’s Catholic Church, where she was given her nickname.

She was a keen dancer and spent a lot of time performing her favourite, the cha cha, in town dancehalls.

She married George Ballard at the Holy Innocents’ Church in Foley Park in 1940 and the two shared many memorable holidays together at Butlins and abroad in Spain.

Mercy said the couple “had a good social life” in the town, before George sadly died of prostate cancer in 1990.

They have three children, 11 grandchildren, 32 great grandchildren, and 11 great great grandchildren.

One of Mercy’s fondest memories is visiting the grave of her brother Albert in Minturno, Italy, who died in the Second World War at the age of 21.

She said: “I thought before I die I will go and see my brother’s grave. It was wonderful. It’s nice to achieve something you wanted to.”

Mercy visits St Ambrose’s every month and last Wednesday, friends at the church threw her a party.

She will be celebrating at home with friends and family on her big day, and will also welcome relatives from Australia flying over especially for the occasion.

When asked the secret to living a long life, Mercy said: “I don’t know the secret. A birthday just comes and it goes. I don’t worry about anything.”

She added: “When I think back I have had a good life. I have always loved my town.”