Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Britain's oldest person Ethel Lang dies aged 114

Ethel Lang
Image caption Ethel Lang was said to be the last person living in the UK born in the reign of Queen Victoria

Britain's oldest person has died at the age of 114.

Ethel Lang was believed to be the last person living in the UK who was born in the reign of Queen Victoria.

Mrs Lang was born in the Worsbrough area of Barnsley on 27 May 1900 and lived in the South Yorkshire mining town all her life.

In 2005, she moved into the Water Royd House nursing home in Barnsley, where she died on Thursday. Mrs Lang is survived by a 91-year-old daughter.

'Loved her snooker'

She became the UK's oldest person after Londoner Grace Jones died aged 113 in 2013.

  • Ethel Lang lived through six monarchs, 22 prime ministers and two world wars
  • Of those, 710 were estimated to be aged 105 or older
  • In 2013 there were 586 women aged 100 and over, for every 100 men of that age in the UK
  • This number has fallen from 823 women in 2003

Mrs Lang was one of six girls and left school at 13 to work in a shirt factory.

She married her husband, William, in 1922, and they had a daughter together, Margaret. Mr Lang died in 1988.

The couple's daughter Margaret Walker told BBC Radio Sheffield that one of her aunts lived to the age of 104 and good genes run in the family.

She said: "She was a lovely mother, I've had her a very long time. I've been a very lucky person."

Mrs Walker said her mother went blind at the age of 85 but still enjoyed listening to snooker.

"She loved the snooker and loved [player] Jimmy White. She was always backing him," she added.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ethel Lang was born during the reign of Queen Victoria

Speaking to the BBC on her 108th birthday, Mrs Lang said it was the war years that stuck in her memory.

She said: "On a Sunday evening we used to have friends come over. We would black everything out and get around the piano and have a sing-song."

According to a list of super-centenarians maintained by the Gerontology Research Group, Gladys Hooper, 111, of the Isle of Wight, is now Britain's oldest resident. She will be 112 on Sunday.

The oldest person in the world is thought to be Misao Okawa, a Japanese woman who celebrated her 116th birthday last March.

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