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100-year-old woman sees ocean for first time

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media captionRuby Holt, 100: "I've heard people talk about the sea... and I wanted to see it but never had the opportunity until now"

Just weeks before turning 101, Ruby Holt has seen the ocean for the first time.

She has spent most of her life on a farm in rural Tennessee picking cotton and said she never had the time or money to go to a beach.

"I've heard people talk about it and how wonderful it was and wanted to see it, but I never had the opportunity to do so," she said.

Now she has been on an all-expenses paid trip to the Gulf of Mexico.

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Ms Holt's holiday was funded by the assisted living centre where she lives along with a charity which grants wishes to elderly people called Wish of a Lifetime.

She said she had never seen anything as big as the ocean but kept describing the November weather as "cold".

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Mark Davis, executive director of Brookdale's Sterling House, where Ms Holt lives said two employees filled out the application for her after finding out that she wanted to see the ocean for the first time.

"They did a water gun fight out in the courtyard during the summer and water got brought up, the beach, and that's what she told the girls, that she had never been," he said.

"When we got to the room yesterday she was just pointing out the ocean and, you know, her facial expressions and... she was just speechless."

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Ms Holt, who has four children, said she was always too busy on the farm or working in a shirt factory to travel and that the family never had enough money.

The holiday to the beach in Alabama was the furthest she had ever been from her home in Giles County. Ms Holt said she had only left the state of Tennessee once before.

To visit the beach she travelled 400 miles - approximately the same distance as going from London to Glasgow.

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She had been lent a motorised wheelchair which had been adapted to be used on sand and with the support of care workers was able to stand and dip her toes in the water.

Ms Holt said: "We don't have nothing like this in Giles County."

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Related Topics

  • Elderly people
  • United States