Older Person's day: Ethel's story

October 1 marks International Day of Older Persons and to celebrate, we met with two of our oldest tenants, Ethel and Mary, to highlight their huge achievements and find out a bit more about them.

International Day of Older Persons was created by the United Nations to celebrate older people, the contribution they’ve made to society and to promote health, prevention, and treatment of illnesses.

Its importance has increased as people are now living longer, and we have a greater aging population.

Ethel’s story

Ethel is 102 years old and has been a tenant since 1991 (over 30 years).

We asked her some questions, check out her answers below.

What’s your secret to a long and successful life?

I have no secret, just live life as best you can every day, look after your loved ones and enjoy it.

What’s a big historic event you’ve seen or been a part of?

There are too many to mention. I’ve always taken part in all I can, joined in and been social. I’ve had good friends who look after me, and I look after them in return.

I do reflect upon the war, where we all had a part to play and mucked in. Whilst my sisters were sent to ammunition factories and my brother went off to the frontline, I did land work and got to stay at home. I was lucky.

What’s your favourite hobby, pastime, or thing to do?

Nowadays I love to watch football on the TV, it’s where you’ll find me most days. My team is Liverpool and when I turned 100, Jamie Carragher (a team legend) sent me a very special birthday message.

What’s it been like in your community through the years?

My mum was the local midwife, so she got to see children from the start of their life up until becoming adults. She helped to set up the Women’s Institute (WI) in our village which supported so many; helping to get electricity to the village, setting up social events and really bringing us all together. It kept us all going through the war.

She was a member for over 60 years, and from the incredible work she did, Sarah Gaunt Gardens was named after her. I am so honoured that I get to live here and I’m so proud she was my mum.

I joined the WI when I was just 14 and stayed until it ended, keeping mums’ legacy alive for many years, you just helped each other out, looked after your neighbours and did good.  

I remember back then, our WI group would enter competitions at different shows, like the one at Winterton. My plum bread was famous, so I used to win and some of the other locals baker didn’t like it, it was very competitive you see.

Ethel and mum at WI
Sarah Gaunt Gardens, named after Ethel’s mum

What’s your proudest achievement in life?

My family. I had a wonderful husband and daughter, and now my granddaughter looks after me a lot.

I also feel like through the WI, we really made a difference and I’m proud of that.

If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?

I’d say get a good job, join in and help out in every way you can.