Britain’s oldest virgin celebrated her 107th birthday today- and put her longevity down to her abstinence.
Proud Clara Meadmore has never had sex because she was ”too busy” for intimate relationships, which seemed like ”a lot of hassle”.
Clara knew she would remain single from the age of 12 and abstained as a young woman to concentrate on earning a living.
The retired secretary said sex meant marriage during her youth in the 1920s and 1930s and she wasn’t interested in settling down.
She has now reached her 107th birthday and marked the milestone by holding a small party with friends at the Perran Bay nursing home in Cornwall.
Clara, of Truro, Cornwall, also received a card from the Queen and celebrated with a drop of wine – from her favourite beaker.
Speaking on her birthday in 2008, Clara revealed that she was proud of the fact she remained a virgin.
She said: ”People have asked whether I am a homosexual and the answer is no. I have just never been interested in or fancied having sex.
”I imagine there is a lot of hassle involved and I have always been busy doing other things.
”I’ve never had a boyfriend – I’ve never been bothered about relationships. When I was a girl you only had sex with your husband and I never married.
”I’ve always had lots of platonic friendships with men but never felt the need to go further than that or marry.
”Everything seems so fast these days. I don’t know a lot about young people or the way they do things. I’m sure its very different.
”I made my mind up at the age of 12 never to marry and I’ve not gone back on that.”
A spokesman for the Perran Bay nursing home said Clara was marking her birthday with a small celebration.
He added: ”She doesn’t want any fuss at all so we are we just going to have a nice quiet day for her.
”She doesn’t want a big celebration but we will make sure she has a nice birthday.”
Clara was born in Glasgow in 1903 just two years after the death of Queen Victoria and remembers the Titanic sinking and the outbreak of the First World War.
Her family emigrated to Egypt, Canada, then New Zealand when she was seven but Clara moved back to Britain in her twenties.
She had to save up £500 – a considerable amount at the time – in order to return to the UK by herself.
Clara then had to work to support herself as a secretary and a housekeeper but despite ”several” offers of marriage turned them all down.
Instead, she took her secretarial skills to serve in the Army, undertaking administrative duties in Egypt during the Second World War.
Clara said: ”I grew up in an era where little girls were to be seen and not heard so I had to learn to stand up for myself and earn my own living.
”Some men don’t like that in a woman and before long I was too old to marry anyway.”
Instead of boyfriends Clara took up hobbies which she still enjoys including reading, gardening, walking, cooking and listening to Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.
Clara’s most enduring hobby was walking. She was one of the first members of the Youth Hostel Association in Britain.
She is also a keen member of the Women’s Institute and used to organise events and take a variety of keep fit classes.
Her only surviving family are two nieces in New Zealand who keep in touch through the post.