Belfast Telegraph

No smoking, no drinking and no men is why marvellous Maud's in great shape at 106

By Nevin Farrell

Marvellous Maud Nicholl, at 106, is amazingly still living alone at home and doing much for herself despite being one of Northern Ireland's oldest people.

Although she was born in 1909 and already had three decades behind her when Hitler's army invaded Poland to kick off the Second World War, she still gets herself up in the morning at 6.30am and can walk up and down stairs. She is in good health and has not been to the doctor for 20 years.

Never married, Maud has put down the secret of a long life to "no smoking, no drinking... and no men".

She still loves nothing better than to travel the seven miles from her home at Woodgreen near Ballymena to Broughshane for a McGroggan's ice cream.

She reads every day and is doted on by neighbours.

Maud has just celebrated her 106th birthday and relatives believe she is the second oldest person living in the province.

Her second cousin Maureen Luke - who is in her 70s and is described by Maud as only a "chicken" - said: "She lives on her own and goes to bed on her own, gets up on her own.

"She can go up and down the stairs quicker than me, unaided. It is unbelievable.

"When her 100th birthday came I said 'now people will ask you what you attribute to your long life' and she said: 'I am not sure, I have had a good life... no smoking, no drinking, no men'.

"We have sort of kept that up and when she is asked it gets a bit of a laugh."

Maud is still healthy and the last time the doctor saw her, apart from one quick check-up at Maureen's suggestion, was 1995.

Maureen - an ex-director of nursing - said: "I don't really see a change on her. I have more wrinkles on my face than she has. She thinks I am only a chicken. She would say to me: 'I don't know what you are moaning about', when I complain about my aches."

Maureen added: "She has been in hospital once... and to my knowledge she has had one antibiotic in her life."

Maud was taught to read and write by her parents, then went to a private school, and then on to work in a solicitor's office.

Maureen said: "She did write poetry and had a couple of pieces published. She is quite a talented lady. She is still an ardent reader."


Five other things to happen in 1909, the same year Maud was born:

  • Wright Brothers deliver first military plane to the US Army
  • Children's Act abolishes hanging for under-16s
  • First Boy Scout rally held in London
  • Louis Bleriot flies across the Channel
  • First Woolworths store opens in Liverpool

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