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How times have changed for Hetty

PUBLISHED: 13:04 01 February 2002 | UPDATED: 15:25 03 March 2010

HETTY Steward was born at a time when mobiles were something that hung over a baby's cot and television was just a gleam in John Logie-Baird's eye.

Born on January 31, 1899, while Queen Victoria still reigned Hetty grew up in Tuttington, Norfolk, and now lives in Ipswich.

HETTY Steward was born at a time when mobiles were something that hung over a baby's cot and television was just a gleam in John Logie-Baird's eye.

Born on January 31, 1899, while Queen Victoria still reigned Hetty grew up in Tuttington, Norfolk, and now lives in Ipswich.

Hetty, now a grand 103 years old, is known to often break out in to song and when the Evening Star went to visit her at Kent Lodge Rest Home, Woodbridge Road, she sang a full rendition of "On Top of Old Smoky". Unaware, or simply not bothered by everyone around her.

According to her daughter she has always loved singing and often launches in to her favourite songs to keep everyone amused.

She laughed when her picture was taken and hoped that she had not cracked the camera.

Hetty is in good spirits and leaves the impression that she has spent much of her long life in this state of mind.

Her daughter, Gwendoline, said that her mother had always lived a simple country life and that this was probably the secret to her notching up so many years.

"She never had any real stress and she cycled everywhere. She lived in rural places for much her life and this was probably the best thing for her," she said.

In 1931 Hetty married Ernest Steward and they lived in Norwich until his sad death in 1979. It was then that Hetty moved to Ipswich to live with her daughter for 16 years.

The couple had two children, Gwendoline and Brian and Hetty now has five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

When she was younger Hetty was a nanny for many years and while her recollection of recent events may not be very clear she reflects fondly on her time as a nanny.

"I looked after two little girls called Olive and Tessa. They always came to me when they were hurt, even more than to their mother," she recalled.

Hetty will not believe how old she is and when her daughter told her she was older than the Queen Mother she dismissed this and said: " I don't think I am. "I don't know how old I am but I know I have been well looked after and I am happy."

Hetty celebrated her birthday with friends and family at Kent Lodge.

FACT FILE

What else was going on in 1899?

World famous writer Ernest Hemingway was born on July 21.

The Boer War began and this harsh war was fought until 1902.

Italian gangster Al Capone was born.

Humphrey Bogart was also born this year and made his first appearance on Christmas Day.

The first bottle of Coca Cola was sold in Tennesse, USA

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