A post office in Chipperfield was transformed for a party on Friday morning, to mark the landmark birthday of a “well-loved” community figure.

Gladys Taaffe, who will turn 100 tomorrow, enjoyed sausage rolls and crisps, as friends and family gathered around.

The Chapel Croft resident said: “I suppose it is quite an achievement to get to 100, although to be honest I don’t feel any different to last year, or the year before.

“I’m looking forward to getting a card from the Queen and corgis, and my family is throwing a large party for me at the village hall on Sunday.

“I can’t believe this little party has been organised for me, it was really very kind of [postmaster] Bipin Pathak.”

Mrs Taaffe, who, following her marriage to James Bernard Taaffe, moved to Chipperfield more than 40 years ago, has become a well-known and highly thought of member of the community.

She said: “I met Bernard while out riding, I kept my horse in stables in Northwood.

“It wasn’t exactly love at first sight – it took him seven years. But after that we were inseparable.

“Chipperfield was a wonderful place to move to, one of my earliest memories of living here, was during wartime.

“There was a massive shortage of meat, but a kind neighbour left rabbits on my porch.

“That was the first time I had ever skinned one, it took forever, but I soon became a dab hand.”

Until recent years an avid walker, she was a founding member of Chiltern Open Air Museum, and one of the first volunteers for Chipperfield’s Meals on Wheels.

Her neighbour, Patty Ling, said: “50 years or so ago, Gladys helped start the Meals on Wheels service in the developing new town of Hemel Hempstead.

“Until the age of 95, she was still delivering meals to the elderly and housebound – it’s really quite remarkable, she’s a wonderful lady.”

Mother to Nick and Elizabeth, Mrs Taaffe also has six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

And although she lives in her home, she is cared for by home help Nicola Clough, and her daughter Elizabeth – who regularly visits to give carer Ms Clough a break.

A keen horserider, according to friends it is only over the last few years she’s stopped riding side saddle.

But despite her athletic endeavours, Mrs Taaffe said this is not what keeps her young at heart.

The sprightly grandmother said: “I used to have a sherry every day, but what keeps me going now, apart from my daschund Wally, is a good gin and tonic.”