Secret to 109-year-old’s long life is ‘hard work’

BELIEVED to be one of Suffolk’s oldest residents, Kathleen Grimwood has just celebrated her 109th birthday.

Speaking from her Sudbury home, she joked how the Queen must be saying: “I’ve got cramp, I cannot write any more to that woman.”

When her mother gave birth to twin girls – Kathleen and Gertrude – in 1901, she was told Kathleen was the weaker and would not live.

But she proved the doctors wrong, and on August 19 celebrated turning 109.

Ms Grimwood said the secret to a long life was “hard work”, adding: “I always tell people that. I used to be a school matron and I think hard work made me strong.”

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Ms Grimwood, who never married, worked at a number of private schools – including Woodbridge School – before giving it up to look after her ill mother.

Having outlived her twin sister, who died at the age of 93, she has helped Sudbury’s History Society with her wealth of knowledge of the town’s past.

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To celebrate her birthday, good friends and neighbours Derek and Gill Phillips organised a boat trip along the River Stour, which has become tradition since the couple first arranged the outing as a birthday present about eight years ago.

Now every year, friends and family come along for the outing, and enjoy cake at The Granary. Mr Phillips, 76, said she was a “remarkable” woman, adding: “She is well-liked and, because of her age and personality, is quite well-known.”

His wife added: “There are people over 100, but not many of them live on their own.”

Ms Grimwood became the oldest recipient of Maundy Money on record last year when she met the Queen at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

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