A centenarian with ‘the heart of a lion’ has celebrated her 107th birthday.
Ivy Leonard’s daughter Anne Smart says ‘you don’t mess with my mum’ – a claim the 4ft 8in centenarian has proved after surviving two near-death experiences.
In 2003, the then-93-year-old Ivy survived against all odds after she was struck by a police car as it chased a stolen car in Newton Drive in Layton.
A born survivor, she brushed with death a second time in December after suffering heart failure.
Now she has just celebrated turning 107, surrounded by her family with a party at the Glen Tanar care home on Cavendish Road, Bispham.
Anne, 66, said the family feared the worst following the heart failure last year.
“We all said goodbye to her because the doctors said she wouldn’t survive the night,” she added.
“Nobody was expecting her to wake up the next morning. Now here we are all these months later celebrating her 107th birthday and having a great time.
“She’s got a very loving personality but you don’t mess with my mum. She’s got the heart of a lion.
“She’s very, very little but she’s mighty.”
Great grandma-of-four Ivy was born in Stockton-on-Tees in 1910.
She worked as a hairdresser and as an RAF warden during the Second World War, where she met her late husband, warrant officer Stanley Leonard. The couple moved to Blackpool 57 years ago, where Ivy made a living as a hairdresser.
Anne said: “She has lived such a full life. Her sister Dorothy was very academic and became a headmistress while she was a hairdresser.
“It just goes to show you don’t need to be academic to live a full life.
“She’s a very loving mum and devoted nana.
“Right until she was 100 she was going to America every year.
“She’s very independent. She’s been everywhere.
“A lot of people say to me ‘what’s her secret?’ and I say ‘family’.
“She’s part of a very loving family and her independent nature I think has been a great asset to her.”
Lorraine Ferguson, manager at Glen Tanar care home, said: “She’s absolutely lovely.
“Up until about six months ago she was actually still running up and down the stairs and up and dancing when the entertainers came in.
“She came to us when she was 101 and she was living on her own before that.
“She lives a very healthy life.”