LOTS of walking is the key to a long and healthy life - according to a Wanstead pensioner who celebrated her 106th birthday this week.

Jane Dall, who is thought to be one of the oldest people in London, if not Britain, said the fact that she had never owned a car and walked "everywhere" to get around was probably the reason for her longevity.

Ms Dall, who lives in Chestnuts Nursing Home in Cambridge Park, Wanstead, said she "never expected" to live this long, but was very happy to celebrate the milestone with her family and friends.

A Scot by birth, Mrs Dall was born on July 17 1903 in the coastal town of Kinghorn, before growing up in Edinburgh.

Mrs Dall remembers her brother, Jack, going off to the battlefields of France to fight in the First World War, and returning home unscathed.

In 1926 she married her husband Claude, and a year later they had a daughter, Edna.

"The happiest memory of my life was when she was born," said Mrs Dall.

In the 1930s the family moved to Leeds, but as war broke out tragedy struck.

Mr Dall, who worked for the Telephone Manager's Office in the Yorkshire city, became the building's fire watchman, but died in 1941 after suffering from several strokes.

The authorities ruled the strain of his job had contributed to his untimely death, and Mrs Dall was awarded a war widow's pension.

While Mrs Dall never remarried, she enjoyed a happy life in post-war Britain, working in the same company as her late husband, and transferring down to their London offices in the 1950s, where she worked until the age of 63.

After retiring, Mrs Dall lived briefly with her daughter in South Woodford, before settling in Wanstead.

During that time, she has seen three grandchildren born and five great-grandchildren.

"They all love their gran very much," said daughter Edna Lawson, now aged 81.

"One of them is very excited about this article going in the paper because none of the other children at her school believe that her great-grandmother is 106."