'I still feel 108' jokes Ethel, 109

ONE of the country's oldest residents celebrated her 109th birthday on Saturday - and joked how she felt no different to when she was 108.

Roddy Ashworth

ONE of the country's oldest residents celebrated her 109th birthday on Saturday - and joked how she felt no different to when she was 108.

Ethel Wood was born on Guernsey in 1901, six days before the death of Queen Victoria.

The daughter of a sailor, she was brought up by her shopkeeper mother with three sisters - Winifred, Edith and Catherine and a brother, William, who died at a young age.


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She attended Guernsey Intermediate School and Guernsey Ladies College before embarking on a teaching career. On retirement in 1961 she moved to Clacton and then on to Kirby, where she still lives.

Asked what it was like to be 109, Ethel said: “It's exactly what it was like being 108. I have no interest in people's age, I feel the same as ever.”

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She added that the only advice she could give to people wanting to live as long as her would be to take one day at a time.

However, Ethel's ambivalence to longevity didn't stop her celebrating on Saturday with two separate parties.

Surrounded by flowers, she was visited in the morning by, among others, Robert Bucke, Mayor of Frinton and Walton, and Nick Taylor, chairman of Tendring District Council.

She had a second round of visitors in the afternoon.

Mr Bucke said he first met Ethel 45 years ago, when he was 20 and she was 64.

“My girlfriend, who I later married, and I had been to a dance night in Clacton, and we accidentally drove into the back of a car in a car park. It turned out it belonged to Ethel and her sisters.

“When we moved to Kirby in 1988 she was living here, and she was a mere 87. Ethel was one of my sponsors when I first became a councillor in 1999.”

He added: “She is a bit deaf now, but if you sit very close and talk to her you can have a perfectly good conversation. To be honest, she hasn't changed much since she was 100.”

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