Suffolk's oldest resident celebrates her 108th birthday

SHE was not expected to make it beyond her first year, but Kathleen Grimwood, believed to be Suffolk's oldest resident, celebrated her 108th birthday yesterday.

Ross Bentley

SHE was not expected to make it beyond her first year, but Kathleen Grimwood, believed to be Suffolk's oldest resident, celebrated her 108th birthday yesterday.

Having borne twins - Kathleen and Gertrude - Ms Grimwood's mother was told by the doctor in 1901 that Kathleen was weak and stood little chance of surviving through to adulthood.

“He told her not to waste too much time on me,” she said.


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But Ms Grimwood has defied the odds and yesterday was welcoming well-wishers to her home on the Croft in Sudbury where she has lived for the past 50 years.

Among her guests was Derek Phillips, a close friend and neighbour, who spoke of his admiration for Ms Grimwood, who became the oldest recipient of Maundy Money on record when she met the Queen at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds in April.

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He said: “She's an amazing lady for her age. She still lives on her own and remains very independent. She has friends who drop in regularly and some home help but she still makes her own food and drink, and walks to the church every week.”

Never married, Mrs Grimwood worked as a school matron at a number of private schools before retiring to look after her elderly father. Having survived her sister Gertrude, who died at the age of 93, she has in recent times helped Sudbury's History Society with her unrivalled knowledge of people and shops from the town's past.

Putting her longevity down to “ plenty of good walks and good friends” Ms Grimwood is due to celebrate her birthday in style this weekend with a boat trip down the River Stour - an annual celebration started by Mr Phillips about six years ago.

According to Buckingham Palace, there are 81 people in the UK aged 108 or older. The Guinness Book of Records states the oldest living woman in Britain is Florence Emily Baldwin from Leeds, West Yorkshire, who was born on March 31, 1896, and is now aged 113 years and 142 days.

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