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Is our Violet Britain's oldest woman at 111?

By This is Kent  |  Posted: September 10, 2010

  • Family fun: Five generations attended Violet Wood's 111th birthday

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HOW would you celebrate your 111th birthday?

For clean-living Violet Wood, a taste of cake and a cup of tea provided the perfect party mix.

Mrs Wood entertained a host of guests, including the Sheriff of Canterbury, at St Martin's Rest Home in Whitstable on Thursday. Staff believe she could now be the oldest woman in the country.

But the star of the show – who featured on BBC Radio Kent and Meridian TV – was less impressed with the attention.

She said: "I shall be glad when all the fuss is over and I can have a rest.

"When you have had all those years you get wore out. But my tongue is still fine and I can still tell people off.

"I don't feel 111. But I do want a new pair of legs and a new pair of eyes. Then I would be fine!"

Among the cards awaiting Violet's attention was her 12th greeting from the Queen, expressing her delight at the birthday girl's "splendid" age.

Violet grew up in Dargate, near Faversham, and lived with her two sisters on a farm, where she met her husband Henry, known as Harry. The couple were married for 62 years before he died at the age of 92.

Mrs Wood has outlived her two younger sisters, Bertha, who died aged 106, and Marjorie, who was in her 90s.

All three went to Graveney school, where their father was also a pupil.

Mrs Wood said: "We had to walk to school from far out in the marshes and we all had a satchel with our dinner. It kept me going – it hardened me.

"I used to drive the horse and cart and deliver to our two shops.

"I helped my dad push the sheep in when we washed them and I never fell in.

"I had a lot of open air and good food. You can't beat it.

"I don't want to be screwed up in a town indoors."

Her childhood experiences led her to a healthy lifestyle that still persists, and she only had a tiny piece of her birthday cake.

She said: "I'm a very healthy eater. I used to have a brown ale now and then and I used to smoke but I left off.

"My birthday cake was half as big as my table. I had a taste but I'm not really a cake eater."

Former farm girl Mrs Wood has lived through 22 Prime Ministers and six monarchs but hardly ventured out of Kent.

She said: "I've never been out of the country. I did go on a boat trip once, and someone took me to Covent Garden market in London but that was the furthest I went.

"I'm not a traveller like that. I stick to my own corner."

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