MOST 90-year-olds celebrate their milestone birthday with presents from family and friends but one Wolvercote pensioner opted for something a little more unusual.

Margaret Broadbent asked loved ones, instead of buying gifts, to use the money to sponsor her to complete a 900m swim for charity.

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The sprightly pensioner said: “I thought I ought to do something to mark my 90th birthday.

"This year I decided I wanted to do a swim for charity.

The Oxford Times:

"I asked for no presents for my birthday, but I asked my family and friends who would usually get me a present to contribute to my swim instead.

She added: “And I did have a family party still. I made the most out of it."

It is not the first time the pensioner has chosen to mark a milestone birthday with a swimming challenge, doing the same a decade ago when she turned 80.

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She also keeps active by trying to go swimming once a week, on top of regularly volunteering at the Summertown Oxfam charity shop.

The selfless nonagenarian, who has been working at the Banbury Road store for more than 25 years, added: “I was raising money partly for Oxfam, partly for the Children’s Society.

The Oxford Times:

“I have friends at Oxfam and the church I go to support the children’s charity so I thought I’d split the money and let people choose."

Generous loved ones helped Ms Broadbent raise more than £1,200, with £539 going to global aid and development charity Oxfam and £700 to the Church of England's Children’s Society.

Sharing her love for working at the Oxfam shop, she said: “I volunteer at the shop and have done so for more than 25 years.

"I only go about once a week now. But I have supported them for a long long time.

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“When I retired I wanted to volunteer and I live in Wolvercote and they were doing an appeal so I went along and volunteered."

Janet Willis, the manager at Oxfam in Summertown, said the 90-year-old was a valued member of the team, adding: “She’s worked here for 26 years, she is such a lovely person.

“She just carries on, and comes along every week."

The Oxford Times:

She continued: “I mean at 90 she’s still swimming, she’s very positive and determined.”

Ms Broadbent has not just spent her retirement years staying physically active but mentally as well, completing a degree in English Local History at Oxford University at the age of 82.

She was inspired to take on the academic challenge after having to give up driving in May 2009 because of vision problems.

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Other Oxfordshire pensioners defying expectations with their energetic stunts include thrill-seeker Christine Smith, from Chalgrove, who braved the world’s fastest zip wire at the age of 81.

There is also daredevil grandmother Trish Wagstaff, 86, from Appleton, who has been raising money with her stunts for year - doing everything from wing walks to abseils for charity, in September taking on the 100m descent of Spinnaker Tower.