Published: 09:59, 08 September 2011
by Sian Napier
The oldest person in the United Kingdom celebrated her 112th birthday in Whitstable on Friday.
Violet Wood, a great-great-grandmother, puts her long life down to hard work and good food while growing up on a farm in Graveney, near Faversham.
Mrs Wood received a telegram from the Queen – her 13th – among the many other cards and congratulations which filled her room at the St Martin’s care home in Joy Lane, where she has lived for 15 years.
Mrs Wood was born at Warm House Cottages in Graveney where her father was a shepherd.
She had two sisters and a brother and went to Graveney School until she was 13 when she left because she had rheumatism.
Mrs Wood, who at 100 was the oldest person in Britain to have a hip replacement, helped her father on the farm and her mother in the home and says she has vivid memories of taking part in dipping the sheep.
She married her husband Henry in 1919.
He was a milk man when they first met but later worked with his wife on the farm at Graveney and they often used to walk the sheep from the village to market in Canterbury.
Mr Wood died in 1984 at the age of 93 after a marriage lasting 64 years.
They had one son, David, who is now 87 and Mrs Wood also has two grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.
She comes from a long-living family, as her sister Madge died when she was in her 90s and her sister Bertha, who was also at St Martin’s, died at the home in September, 2007 when she was 105.
Mrs Wood said: “I have always eaten well and the secret of a long life is hard work.
“I used to work very hard helping my father look after his flock of sheep.”
Her milestone was celebrated with her family with a special tea and cake.
See this week's Gazette and Faversham News for full story.