A stalwart of the Higham Hill community is celebrating turning 100 today.

Francis Oats served fish and chips to residents for almost 40 years. Today she is celebrating her birthday with her family at the Kings Head pub in Chingford.

Francis was born in Bethnal Green on February 6, 1920.

She later moved to Walthamstow where she met love of hr life, Harry Oats.

The pair married shortly before the Second World War. On Harry’s return from the conflict, he took over the running of his father’s chippy in Higham Hill Road, H. V. Oats.

Due to the massive demand for their renowned fish and chips, Harry and Francis opened a second shop front on Higham Hill road.

The happy couple, who had two children together, brothers Michael, 72, and Joseph, 76, served fish and chips from the end of the war up until their retirement in 1982.

Francis’ grandson, Simon, who turns 49 the day after her birthday, fondly recalls visits to his grandparents’ chippy.

He said: “When I was probably about six, I used to go past the chippy on my little bike and people in the queue would stop me and say ‘oi you’re an Oatsy’ and try and hand me their money so they could get their fish and chips without having to wait in the massive line.

“In the 70s they used to queue on a Friday out of the shop and all the way down the road, sometimes almost 100 people – this was way before there was a kebab shop on every corner.”

Francis says her secret to living a long life is “keeping the mind and body active” she says she rarely sits still and when she does, it’s only to read.

Simon added: “My nickname for her is 100 mile-per-hour nan, as she is quick in everything she does – ‘don’t like to muck about’, she says.”