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Wednesday, December 10, 1997 Published at 10:14 GMT


Britain's oldest woman dies at 114
image: [ Lucy  Askew : 1883 - 1997 ]
Lucy Askew : 1883 - 1997

The oldest woman in Britain has died at the age of 114. Lucy Askew, from Loughton in Essex, died in her sleep at a residential home.

She was born in 1883 when Queen Victoria still had 17 more years left on the throne.

The daughter of a hansom cab operator, Lucy Jane Askew was already 16 at the turn of the century. And by the time the Great War broke out, she was in her 30s.

[ image: Miss Askew with her brother Frank who also lived past 100]
Miss Askew with her brother Frank who also lived past 100
Between the wars she was bridesmaid at her brother Frank's wedding, but she never married. She outlived Frank and her three other brothers and one sister - though three of them lived to over 100.

Lucy Askew only moved to a nursing home when she was 106. She was always fit and, six years ago, after injuring her knee, she surprised doctors by sailing through a general anaesthetic.

Her great nephew, Christopher Birchall, said she was a lady of great resilience.

"After the knee operation she came round, took off her oxygen mask ... the doctors were amazed."

Up to two years ago, Lucy Askew was still knitting blankets for African relief. Her family say she was a God-fearing teetotaller, self reliant, never bored and unafraid of dying.

Lucy Askew died peacefully at the town of Loughton where she was born. Her funeral will be held there next week.

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