Keeping active and a piece of chocolate is the key to keeping Redbourn woman Joan Parry young as she marked her 100th birthday on Monday.

Miss Parry enjoyed a party thrown for her by family and friends at St Matthews care home, with many old faces joining to toast her milestone.

Born in Eltham, Miss Parry spent most of her early years in Bushey before moving to Redbourn.

The love of her life has been guiding, where she was formerly a District Commissioner and heavily involved with the Guiding centre at Gaddesden Row.

Over the years she made many friends, who have also been guides or guide leaders.

Eileen Toms, who was a guide with Mrs Parry nearly 70 years ago, said: "Joan was a very hard working woman and a wonderful guide leader.

"We have still kept in touch after all these years."

In the 1950s Miss Parry served in the RAF and was in Iraq in a role involving catering, before taking up a catering manager job at Hemel Hempstead Hospital in the 1970s.

In Redbourn, where she has lived for the last 40 years, Miss Parry has been heavily involved with a number of community activities including a meal on wheels volunteer driver until well into her 80s.

She also helped distribute the village magazine and was the organiser and collector for various charities including Christian Aid.

Miss Parry is described by her loved ones as a very bright lady, has a wicked sense of humour and a wonderful smile and chuckle.

Most recall her beautiful singing voice and she picked up a Royal Academy Music award for performance singing.

A close friend, Rosemary Bailey, said: "We threw Joan a surprise 90th birthday 10 years ago at the Great Gaddesden, where she did a thank you speech and at the end she said she wished to see everyone at her 100th.

"And here we are today."

When asked what kept Miss Parry young, her niece Anne Pack added: "She has kept herself busy all throughout her life and she also loves chocolate.

"She is a testament to Cadbury’s Bourneville, eat dark chocolate and live to 100."