ANIMAL-LOVER Renee Harrison was treated to a surprise party – including a box filled with live butterflies – to celebrate her 100th birthday yesterday.

Surrounded by 50 friends, family and staff at Bridge House Care Home in Abingdon the grandmother-of-three beamed as she said she had had no idea what was being planned.

She said: “Everywhere I look I see more people smiling and wishing me a happy birthday.”

Asked the secret of her long life the 100-year-old simply advised: “Take each day as it comes.”

Mrs Harrison was born in London in 1917 , ‘within the sound of the bells of Bow’, making her a true Cockney.

She has lived in Abingdon for 55 years, having moved to the town with her husband John, known as Jack, when he went to work at Harwell as a research chemist.

The pair married in March 1945, in Gloucester, where she was evacuated during the Second World War, and had two children; Mike, 71, and Valerie, 65.

In Abingdon, Mrs Harrison worked for a solicitor and then for Abbey Press in admin roles, having a particular talent for maths.

She was also active in the Abingdon Twin Towns Society and the Harwell Retirement Fellowship.

Her daughter, who organised the party, said: “My mum is, and always has been, incredible. She is such a positive person who loves animals and living creatures, which is why we made the party butterfly-themed.

“One of her favourite places is Blenheim Palace’s Butterfly House.”