A woman who survived two world wars and lived through two pandemics has celebrated her 106th birthday in style - by beating Covid.

Sprightly Mary Nicholson said the secret to a long life is drinking full fat milk, cream and butter as well as enjoying a "tipple of whiskey at night".

She tested positive for the killer virus on New Year's Eve but said she felt "healthier than ever" after overcoming the virus in time for her birthday on Tuesday.

The fiercely independent centenarian, who is nicknamed 'Polly', said it was a "lovely sensation" to be out of isolation and to find so many cards and presents waiting for her.

Staff at the Elizabeth Court Care Home in St Helens, sang her a birthday song and presented the resilient pensioner with a cake in a joyous celebration.

Sadly, due to Covid restrictions, she was unable to see her family, including niece Jean, from Warrington, but said that she was looking forward to celebrating with them once "all this Covid is done".

Polly, who never married or had kids, said: "It's a big birthday - 106.

"I've been fantastic, and I'm happy and enjoying myself. Earlier on I had a cough but I'm feeling better.

"I couldn't tell you how lovely my birthday has been. Lovely sensation to find cards and presents that were given to me.

"It's nice to be able to celebrate after being in isolation because of the virus.

"But I'm feeling good after Covid and nothing can hold me back. I'll get back to normal as quickly as I can.

"I can't wait to be able to see my family again, I love them all to bits and they mean the world to me. I wish they could be with me here today.

"But I can't wait to see them once all this Covid is done."

The former canteen cook lived a difficult life after losing her mum when she was just five and her dad five years later, but has always kept her spirits up.

Polly was born on January 12, 1915 just before WWI broke out and her mum died of diabetes five years later.

Her dad had enlisted in the First World War as a medic and was gassed during the war - when he returned he was very ill and sadly died a short time later.

Polly's niece Jean Humphreys, 68, from Warrington said she's always been inspired by Polly, who was "fiercely independent, but also funny and loving".

She grew up with very little, and never married or had kids, but she took care of Jean's mum - Polly's sister - when she was ill at the end of her life.

She lived alone in her home in St Helens until she was 102 and would often joke that she had to help the neighbour do her shopping as she was "old and approaching 100".

Jean, from Warrington, said: "They didn't have an easy life. She lost her mum and dad so young and went through the wars.

"But she persevered and worked hard and she inspires me every day.

"She lived in her home until she was 102. She lived on her own, she was fiercely independent.

"She used to go shopping for the old lady a few doors down. And she was younger than Polly, she was about 100.

"She used to say she was an old woman who needed help.

"She had to be very independent growing up because of the circumstances, and she was taking care of my mum. So she was always around."

Polly tested positive with Covid on New Year's Eve which left her nieces feeling scared as she was in an at-risk age group.

Jean, a retired support worker, said: "She was diagnosed with Covid on New Year's Eve. It was so scary to hear that at her age.

"We've not been able to see her at all as she's been isolated but now she's out of isolation and recovered."

But she said it was the "most wonderful birthday present" to find out she had beaten the virus and was fit and healthy.

She said: "It's the most wonderful birthday present we could've asked for that she's fit.

"She looks amazing, you wouldn't be able to tell she was ever sick.

"She's got all of her presents. We'll have a belated party in summer if it all changes.

"It's quite difficult to get a 106 year old a present but got her some new bedding, baskets of flowers.

"We've made her a hamper with her favourite sweets - liquorice and blackcurrants, sherbert lemons, mint imperials, werther's originals, butter on bugs.

"I think she's having a lovely day - she's happy to be out of isolation."