A FORMER seamstress and shopkeeper known to many as Mrs Rainbow has celebrated her 100th birthday with friends and two fellow centenarians.

Hilda Rigby marked her landmark birthday with a party at Davenham Hall and the Barns, in London Road, where she has lived since 2010.

She was joined by fellow residents Eileen Edwards, who turned 100 on Christmas Eve, and Doris Finney, who turned 100 on November 12.

Hilda is known in the Northwich area for owning the Rainbow shop at The Green, in Hartford, which she ran with her sister.

She was born in Staley Bridge on January 11, 1916, and grew up in Aintree, next to the race course.

"We used to be off school for the races because it was so busy they said we would get run over," she said.

"We used to go and watch the racing.

"I was born in the middle of the First World War.

"I think the children had a good time then really because there was always things going on in the streets."

Hilda worked at the Dunlop factory in Walton, where she inspected shoes for faults, and was a seamstress at Walton Hospital, where she made uniforms.

She met her husband Joseph, who worked at Dunlop, and the pair married when Hilda was 18.

She said he brought her a bunch of flowers every Friday.

Hilda's dad was a railwayman and the family, including Hilda's older brother William and younger sisters Nora and Marion, moved to Hartford with his job.

For a while Hilda, who also made wedding dresses for her sisters, commuted to Liverpool to work at Walton Hospital.

"I went on train first then I used to drive in the car – it was more convenient because many a time I would work overtime," she said.

Eventually she ran Rainbow with her sister, which sold sweets, baby linen, tights and haberdashery.

"I used to go to Manchester every Sunday for 9am to the warehouses," she said.

"I went to about six different wholesalers, and they all called me Mrs Rainbow, the customers did too."

She also used to help out at the post office next door and was a member of St John's Church, where she did the flowers.

Hilda said she did not have a secret to a long and happy life but did have some advice.

"I couldn't tell you, I haven't got any secret, but my advice is to take things as they come," she said.