Britain’s oldest person, Olive Boar from East Anglia, has died
PUBLISHED: 00:01 02 September 2018 | UPDATED: 12:50 02 September 2018
Olive Boar, who grew up in Ipswich and was living in Felixstowe at the time of her death, was officially the country’s oldest resident.
She was born in a world barely recognisable from the one she left, where even radio and television – let alone the internet and smartphones – seemed distant, space age dreams.
But after living through two world wars, 22 prime ministers and countless technological innovations, Britain and Suffolk has now said a sad farewell to its oldest resident.
Having reached the grand old age of 113, Olive Evelyn Boar - the country’s 10th oldest ever person - witnessed huge transformation including the invention of radio when she was aged two and television when she was 21.
But despite dramatic changes Mrs Boar stuck to what she knew best – never using electric cooking tools or even an automatic washing machine.
When the grandmother of five and great grandmother of 11 was born as the fourth of eight children to William Robert Macro and Alice Osborn in Ipswich on September 29 1904, the tea bag had only just been invented and people would have to wait another six years for neon lamps.
Working as a seamstress after she left school, she married husband Claude Boar – a seed analyst – in 1932 and they bought a house in Ipswich for £300.
She would live in that house until she was 108, raising two children – and would often recall how she heard German Doodlebugs flying over Ipswich on their way to carry out bombing raids during the Second World War.
She would spend the vast majority of her time in Suffolk, with the family even holidaying every year in Felixstowe.
Yet despite the fame of being Britain’s oldest resident, son Robin Boar, 73, said that his mother shunned the limelight and preferred a private, family life.
“She was very homely, very caring,” he said.
“She looked after various friends and relatives as they became ill. She liked to help.
“She was a good friend. She was there if anyone needed anything – but she was quite strong-willed and wouldn’t let anyone push her around, even in recent years.
“If she felt someone wasn’t showing her enough respect, she would let them know.
“She was a fairly amazing woman in many ways.”
Mr Boar said his mother – who moved to Kent Lodge care home in Felixstowe and later, when that closed, The Westcliff, where she was living when she died – was also a “prodigious knitter” who made several garments for family members, especially new arrivals.
She was also a “proficient cook”.
He added: “Her roast dinners were fairly renowned. She would make five times as much as you could possibly eat.”
But rather than use modern electric mixers and other equipment, Mr Boar said: “She did everything by hand. It was the way she had always done things.
“She never ever had an automatic washing machine. I used to show her photos on my iPad but she didn’t perhaps understand how you accessed them.
“She didn’t shy away from technology – she could adapt to the times. But when you reach 80, 90, 100 and you’ve been doing things a certain way for many years, you carry on doing things the way you’ve always done them.”
Despite living through two world wars and being one of the few people in the country with a living memory of the First World War, Mr Boar said she never talked much about the conflicts.
Her husband had also fought in the 1939 to 1945 conflict.
“Lots of people involved in the war are reluctant to talk about it,” Mr Boar said.
Mrs Boar held the title of oldest in Britain following 113-year-old Bessie Camm’s death on May 11 this year.
The cause of the super-centenarian’s death on Tuesday, August 28 was recorded as old age.
Longevity runs in the Boar family. Both her parents lived into their 90s and her youngest sister is still living and currently aged 101.
Grace Catherine Jones, 111, of Broadway in Worcestershire, now takes over the mantle of Britain’s oldest resident.
World events that Olive Boar saw in her lifetime include:
■ 1904 - Invention of the tea bag
■ 1914 - Start of the First World War
■ 1915 - Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity
■ 1917 - The Russian Revolution and birth of communism
■ 1925 - Invention of television
■ 1932 - The Great Depression
■ 1938 - The ballpoint pen and photocopying are invented
■ 1945 - Invention of nuclear weapons and end of the Second World War
■ 1950 - The first credit cards are used
■ 1956 - Video tape recorders used for the first time
■ 1963 - John F Kennedy assassinated
■ 1969 - Man lands on the moon
■ 1975 - The first personal computers
■ 1984 - The Miner’s Strike
■ 1991 - Invention of the internet
■ 2001 - September 11 terrorist attacks in New York
■ 2007 - Launch of the Apple iPhone
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ipswich Star. Click the link in the orange box above for details.