Secret to long life: Onions, spring water
London: In a study it was revealed that the Brit village of Montacute, Somerset, has the longest life expectancy, with a couple attributing it to eating an onion a day and drinking spring water.
The national study of 3 million pension records showed that pensioners of Montacute, near Yeovil, are most likely to live the longest, and some have cited the water and others the fresh Somerset air as the reason for their longevity.
But Charlie and Mabel Northam, still going strong at 89 and 90 respectively, swear they have lived so long because they eat a locally produced onion every day and drink spring water from a nearby hill.
The Northams revealed they ate a couple of fried onions for lunch, washed down with half pints of spring water, and they also swear by fresh, local vegetables. Charlie had been growing vegetables for 40 years, producing 500 onions a year among other things on his allotment.
"I had 30 rows of potatoes, spinach, runner beans - you name it I grew it and I didn’t use any chemicals," the Guardian quoted him as saying. "I think this is a lovely place," Northam, who turns 90 on New Year’s Eve, said.
"I suppose that’s one of the big reasons that people live so long. People are happy. We were always happy-poor," he added.
Lifelong resident Shirley Hann, 74, is another who believes growing your own is key to a long life, and she keeps a thriving vegetable patch.
"People here all have allotments or a little vegetable patch in their back garden. I’ve been eating home-grown veg my whole life," she said.
Her cousin, Keith Hann, 72, said he had grown his own for half a century. "I grow everything. I’ve got three allotments, and I’ve grown about 95 percent of my fruit and veg for nearly 50 years," he revealed.
Bill Dufton, 83, who was found on top of a ladder, restoring the window frames of his 500-year-old home, believes good healthcare is one of the reasons people are lasting so long here.
"We have a good health centre down the road. We have all sorts of pills to take. I put it down in good part to the NHS - and also that this is a great place for walking. That keeps you fit," he explained.
In the post office, sub-postmaster Myrtle Hann, a whippersnapper at 63, said she believed great community spirit helped keep elderly people going.
"It’s the sort of village where people help each other get by. I think that helps. People feel secure," she added.
Kevin and Carolyn Bowmaster, landlord and lady of the village pub, the Phelips Arms, agree that the water and fresh air is good but also think the good beer and wine might have something to do with it.
"People do enjoy themselves here and coming to the pub is a part of that," Kevin said.
The study was carried out by actuaries at the international business consultancy Watson Wyatt.