Essex: ‘Amazing’ Ethel celebrates her 110th birthday
09:15 18 January 2011
SHE’S one of the UK’s oldest people and among the last dozen or so Victorians still alive.
Remarkable Ethel Wood yesterday toasted her 110th birthday by claiming her secret for a long life was simply not to think about it!
Miss Wood, who was born just eight days before Queen Victoria died, celebrated her milestone with friends at her home in Kirby-le-Soken, near Frinton on Sea.
She has outlived all of her four siblings – Winifred, Edith, Catherine and William – who, like her, did not have any children.
She is thought to be the 11th oldest person in the UK.
She moved to Essex around 20 years ago to care for her sister Edith.
When asked the secret behind her longevity, Miss Wood said: “I don’t think about it. It comes along a day at a time – everybody’s life is like that.”
The former primary school teacher is temporarily living at Anna Victoria Nursing Home, in Frinton, while she recovers from a broken leg, following a fall just before Christmas.
But she was back at her home in Briarfields to enjoy tea and cake with well-wishers.
“I think it’s amazing,” said councillor Robert Bucke, mayor of Frinton and Walton, and a longtime friend of Miss Wood.
“Ethel is the best example of growing old and staying alive mentally, not just physically.
“She is a true role model in the terms of living life to the full.”
Sylvia Smith, of Walton Road, Kirby-le-Soken, who has been friends with Miss Wood for 15 years, said: “She’s the exception to the rule.
“It’s certainly an achievement to get to 110, but she’s not what you’d call an old lady.
“She never looks to go backwards in time, unless you ask her to.”
Miss Wood – who never married – grew up in Guernsey before moving to England to become a primary school teacher, taking classes in Devon and London.
The oldest person alive in Britain is thought to be Margaret Fish, 111, from Wilstead, in Bedfordshire.