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'I love dancing – I don't plan on stopping!'

BIRTHDAY GIRL: For her special celebrations, Edna attended a Newham Council-organised tea dance, which Deputy Mayor Councillor Charlene McLean, also attended

SHE MAY have started dancing more than 80 years ago – but Edna Lee Jones is still partying at the ripe old age of 100. Edna has always loved dancing and after being asked to at - tend a Newham Council Christmas party and tea dances, she has not looked back.

This centenarian has always loved dancing, and continues to do so today. She told The Voice: “Dancing has always been part of my life and I have no intention of stopping. I will continue as long as I can.”

As we spoke, Edna was in her favourite armchair, describing and illustrating her dance moves.

But she was keen to state her love of music which began in her native Jamaica.

When she was 16, Edna – also known as Lee to family and friends – began sneaking out of her bedroom window to go dancing and recalls her sisters keeping it quiet because she paid them not to tell their parents.

Edna, who was born in August 1918, is one of 12 siblings and admits that she was “the naughty one”.

Eighty years on she still goes dancing – but her arthritis limits her moves.

Her landmark birthday was a two tier celebration. It began with the council’s tea dance where in true Edna style there was the birthday cake, champagne and plenty of music and dancing. Deputy Mayor Councillor Charlene McLean also attended the celebration.

EDNA CELEBRATES: Her landmark birthday was marked with a two tier event

There was also a party in Edna’s honour at the local Gurney Road School. Edna married a local boy and had daughter Beryl.

In 1958 Edna arrived in the United Kingdom and lived in north London. She remarried in 1968 when she wed Norvil Jones. She described him as “a beautiful man”.

The Jamaican worked as an auxiliary nurse in Wanstead Hospital and St Mark's Hospital until she retired at 60.

She smiled as she recalled: “In those days we had paraffin heaters – there was no such thing as central heating in the house. When we had jelly, it was left by the window to set because there was no fridge.”

After working and saving for many years, in 1956 Edna went travelling “all over the place” as she puts it, including visits to St Lucia, Barbados, the United States, the Netherlands and Canada, to name a few.

Trinidad was one of her highlights where she took part in Carnival, dressed in colourful costumes and showing offer dancing.

Edna said: “I went travelling because I wanted to see and experience what was going on in the world. I’m in a very happy place now because I have achieved a lot.”

Edna said her secret to a happy and long life is “to do as her doctor tells her, take her blood pressure tablets while being honest, respectful, sleeping, eating good food – and dancing”.

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