LEGENDARY wartime entertainer Betty Hockey has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Born in Bournemouth in 1916, Betty became the master of the Can-Can dance and performed at military camps, airfields and on ships throughout the region during World War II.

She has since worked as a tireless campaigner for armed forces charities, something she remains actively involved in to this day.

And to mark her centenary, a party organised by the Red Arrows Association was held in her honour on Saturday at the Osborne Centre in West Parley.

Surrounded by friends and family – including six of her eight great-grandchildren – Betty watched with delight as a This is Your Life style film was played.

Friend Nick Arnold MBE, a former Ferndown mayor, said Betty’s never-ending desire to help people and keep busy is part of the secret to her longevity.

“She is still actively involved in the Red Arrows Association even now,” he said, explaining that she is also in regular contact with the Navy and Army.

“She is a remarkable person and she was absolutely gob-smacked with the surprise party – she thought she was just going out with three or four people, and then she turned up and the place was full. It was fantastic.”

Friend and former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathan Band, was among the guests and paid tribute to her charity work.

Such was Betty’s popularity as an entertainer, she was once given a special military uniform allowing her to pass into camps as security was increased in the lead up to D-Day.

She became well known for her raunchy routines as part of dance group The Non Stops, who lived up to their name by not allowing the soldiers, sailors and airmen they were entertaining an interval during shows.

In total the group clocked up more than 1,000 shows before D-Day in June 1944.

The birthday event was organised by Red Arrows Association chairman Terry Trevett, with Bournemouth mayor Cllr Eddie Coope and mayoress Janet Coope among the other guests.