Amazing Phyllis enjoys her 100th birthday

Phyllis Collier is one of the original WAGs – and she's proud of it - but at 100 years old, she couldn't be further from the high fashion and fast living of the prominent WAGs of the 21st Century: the wives and girlfriends of England's football team.

For in her early years, Wigan-born Phyllis was a preacher for the Christian Association of Women and Girls and once had hopes of becoming a missionary in China – even starting to learning the language.

Phyllis is proud of her Christian faith and puts her long and healthy independent life down to 'dandelion and burdock and Jesus'.

Born in Greenhough Street, Wigan, on June 11, 1907, Phyllis had a strong upbringing in the temperance movement. She signed The Pledge in her early teens and the only alcohol to pass her lips has been sips of wine in church at Communion.

Her father owned a temperance bar in the town centre opposite the Town Hall. It was called Bolton's and he sold soft drinks, herbs and ice cream.

Two of her uncles were also businessmen in the town: Jack Cubby had a shop in Scholes and George Bolton another a shop in Standishgate. They were also in the temperance movement.

Phyllis also lived with her family in Rodney Street and Darlington Street. She had an older brother, Billy – who went on to be a vicar in the Isle of Man – and a sister Muriel, who was 15 months younger. She also had two other brothers who died within a week of each other with measles.

Phyllis belonged to a successful and prosperous family until her parents separated when she was seven. She left Wigan and went to live with her mother's family in Bolton.

She married Harold in 1935 and had three children. He died in 1981 and Phyllis has lived on her own ever since. She now lives in Lostock, Bolton.

Phyllis has lived a healthy life and one of her mottos has been "keep away from doctors". The other? "No alcohol".

Phyllis celebrated her birthday with a dinner for 56 friends and relatives – some travelling from France – at the Coaching House in Bolton. She has three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. If you remember the shops or the Bolton family, Phyllis's daughter, Pat Holland, is researching the family history and would be grateful for any information. Please phone 01204 843227.