Olive Underwood defies the odds and celebrates 106th birthday
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
As a newborn she was not expected to survive beyond three months, but at 106 a Sudbury woman has proved that doctor wrong.
Olive Underwood, a resident at Chilton Croft Nursing Home, is one of the oldest people in Suffolk, and indeed the country.
She celebrated her 106th birthday at the home on October 6 with staff and fellow residents, and also received a very special card from the Queen.
Mrs Underwood, who was married to Stanley, has no children, but has nieces and nephews.
Her niece Maureen Carter said: “About three weeks after she [Olive] was born, the doctor who attended said she had problems so they should be prepared for the fact she might not live beyond three months. It’s a family joke, we say ‘thank God he’s not our doctor now’.”
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Mrs Underwood was born in South London and had two older sisters.
She married Stanley, a buyer for a clothing and accessories company, on August 14, 1943, the year Mrs Carter was born.
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The couple were ardent Methodists and met at the Methodist church they were attending at Kingsway in London.
On retirement they moved to Broadstairs, Kent, but when Stanley died in 1986 Mrs Underwood moved to Sudbury to be near a friend. But unfortunately, shortly after she moved her friend died, Mrs Carter said.
In her 90s she became frail and moved into the care home in Sudbury where she lives now.
Mrs Carter said her aunt, who now suffers with dementia, had always loved sewing and gardening and had been very active and cycled a lot.
She described her as “quite strong willed and knew what she liked” and was “very conscious of other people’s problems and helped as much as she could”.
“What we would call old-school – to help out the community,” she said.
Due to the situation with Covid-19, Mrs Carter, from near Southend, was not able to visit the home on her aunt’s birthday, but sent flowers and phoned.
Care home manager Muneeb Diwan said it was “pretty special” to reach 106.
The home marked the occasion with flowers, cake and a gathering with staff and residents, and Mrs Underwood also had her hair done on the day.
“I think she appreciated it and enjoyed it,” he said. “It was the best we could possibly do.”
He said Mrs Underwood has a sense of humour and enjoys listening to music.
“We still have entertainment that comes to the home and plays outside, and she loves that. She will tap her feet and remember some of the words,” he added.