Eileen Ash celebrated her birthday the way many would hope to: surrounded by friends and family, enjoying cake and a celebratory glass of red wine, and receiving an avalanche of well-wishes in both spoken and written form.
But that’s where most of the similarities end, because over the weekend Ash celebrated her 110th birthday — a milestone most can only dream of. And boy, has she filled those years with adventure.
She now resides at St. John’s House in Norwich, England, where she’s known as chipper, cheerful and cheeky, according to a blog post by the care home.
Other than the sparkle in her eye, you’d never guess she’d been a cracking cricket player for over a decade, worked for the United Kingdom’s foreign intelligence service MI6 during WWII and beyond — but she has, and her accomplishments didn’t end when she hit the respectable age of 100, either.
When she was 105, she took (and passed) her driving test. At 106, she went for a ride in a biplane from the 1930s. She’s been recognized as the oldest living international cricketer, had a sports hall at The Hewett Academy named after her, is an honorary life member of the Marylebone Cricket Club and her portrait hangs at Lord’s cricket ground.
So it was only right that her 110th year was celebrated with much fanfare. She doesn’t drive anymore, but the staff arranged for her to get a ride in her yellow mini, which she adores.
St. John’s House shared photos of the special day and the lady’s impressive story on Facebook, and it’s safe to say that Ash has quite a few more fans now.
“Well — what an incredible weekend we’ve had,” the post read. “Norfolk’s oldest person, Eileen Ash, celebrated her 110th birthday in style at St John’s House.”
“The wellbeing and the kitchen teams at the home pulled out all the stops to make Eileen’s special day one to remember with a family celebration and a few surprises along the way.”
Ash thoroughly enjoyed her day and expressed her thanks for the life she’s lived and the connections she’s made.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” she said, according to the BBC. “I’ve been so lucky in my life and have done some lovely things. I’ve been very close to my family and have been very lucky to have been healthy for so long.”
And she has a straightforward recipe for success, for those who would like to follow in her footsteps. She says the secret is “[b]eing happy and smiling a lot, red wine, and keeping fit with yoga!”
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