Brandy and ginger ale proves a tonic at 110


One of the oldest persons in Britain is to be honoured by the Mayor of Waterford. Mrs Lucy d'Abreu lived in the city for over 60 years before moving to Scotland.

She has lived 110 years, through the reign of five monarchs, three wars, the turn of two centuries and almost every major discovery of the modern age.

Mrs d'Abreu was given her middle name, Victoria, after the queen who reigned when she was born at Dharwar, India, in May 1892. She noted that the Forth Railway Bridge near Edinburgh is just two years older than her while William Gladstone became prime minister for a fourth term in the year of her birth.

She attributes her longevity to "my customary sun-downer of brandy and dry ginger ale".

Mrs d'Abreu lived most of her life in Waterford, where her husband, Dr Abundius Joseph d'Abreu - a cousin by marriage of the late Queen Mother - worked as a surgeon at the former County and City Infirmary on John's Hill. The couple lived in Newtown where Mrs d'Abreu remained until 1985, when, at the age of 93, she moved to Scotland to be close to her family.

Dr and Mrs d'Abreu were very well-known and popular figures in Waterford. Dr d'Abreu qualified as a surgeon in Edinburgh before relocating to Waterford. He was perhaps best known for bringing the first X-ray machine to the city. Mrs d'Abreu was a founder member of the Waterford Bridge Club.

Mrs d'Abreu is the mother of five daughters. A sixth child, a son, died from meningitis at the age of four. She has 13 grandchildren, "scores" of great-grandchildren and "numerous" great-great-grandchildren.

She still reads a newspaper each day and walks, albeit with the aid of a stick. She enjoys food and reading, although she is hampered a little by failing eyesight and deafness. "I have lived long, and naturally there have been changes, but they don't seem very much," Mrs d'Abreu said.

The Mayor of Waterford, Cllr Oliver Clery, is to hold discussions before deciding on how best Mrs d'Abreu should be honoured in the city where she made her home for over six decades.