A FORMER first aider during the London Blitz has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Valerie Rose, who lives in Tisbury, marked the milestone on November 9.

Valerie, who was born and bred in London, on reaching the landmark birthday, said: “Quite honestly it doesn’t feel any different from being 99.”

And on the secret of a long life she said: “I have a great friend who is an absolutely fantastic healer. For the last 30 years he has seen me every week and if there’s something wrong he puts it right and that’s why I have lived so long.”

Although she admits she is not a fan of exercise. “I don’t do exercise and I don’t do any of the things that they tell you you ought to do.” she added.

During the Second World War Valerie was a first aider on a mobile first aid unit, which she describes as being large vans with a mobile hospital packed inside.

She said: “Instead of waiting at the first aid post we would be called out to an incident. But it was not very practical. What nobody knew at the time because we hadn’t been bombed before, was the atmosphere was so full of powdered glass that you just had to get casualties under cover as quickly as possible. You couldn’t really treat them in the open, it was too dangerous. It was dangerous because of the powdered glass everywhere.”

Valerie, who was an actress, did get to tread the boards and entertained Londoners performing as one of the ugly sisters in the pantomime Cinderella at the start of the war.

“The first Christmas of the war we put on Cinderella for three weeks,” says Valerie. “It was great fun.”

She says the units had to get together to do some entertainment work as part of the war effort.

After the war until her retirement Valerie worked restoring prints. She retired when she was 50 and has been “enjoying life” ever since. She moved to Tisbury 14 years ago.

She added: “Perhaps that is the secret of living so long - enjoying life. But my healer has had an awful lot to do with it.”