UK's oldest person, Gladys Hooper, dies aged 113

  • Published
Media caption,
Gladys Hooper said she was looking forward to her 114th birthday

The UK's oldest person has died at the age of 113.

Gladys Hooper, from the Isle of Wight, who celebrated her birthday on 18 January, passed away at Highfield Nursing Home in Ryde at lunchtime.

The former concert pianist was born in south-east London in 1903, the same year the Wright brothers made the first powered aircraft flight.

The great-grandmother was the country's most senior supercentenarian, according to the Gerontology Research Group.

Her son Derek Hermiston, 85, said: "She just faded - 113-and-a-half is a good old age.

"We saw her this morning, she seemed reasonably well, she was sleeping.

"We had left her for just about an hour when they called us to tell us she had passed away."

Last year, Mrs Hooper broke a Guinness World Record when she became the oldest person in the world - at 112 - to have a hip operation.

She moved into the nursing home following the operation.

Mrs Hooper was widowed in 1977 when her husband, Leslie, who had been a pilot in the two world wars, died.

She had another great link to flight as she was good friends at college with Amy Johnson who went on to become a trail-blazing aviator.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Gladys Hooper pictured with her son Derek Hermiston in January

People from the US, Canada, Belgium and Australia passed on their birthday wishes on Facebook when Mrs Hooper turned 113 in January.

A video of Mrs Hooper talking about seeing a German airship being shot down over London during World War One has been seen by more than 850,000 people.

According to Office for National Statistics figures, there were 14,450 centenarians - people aged 100 and over - in the UK in 2014, with 780 estimated to be aged 105 or more.

The oldest person in the world is thought to be Emma Morano, from Italy, who celebrated her 116th birthday last November, according to Gerontology Research Group.

It had listed Mrs Hooper as the 12th oldest in the world.

According to the website Oldest In Britain, Bessie Camm, who is 112 and from Rotherham, now becomes the oldest in the country.

Gladys Hooper

Image source, Family Handout
Image caption,
During her 20s Gladys Hooper ran her own car hire business
  • Gladys Hooper was born Gladys Nash in Dulwich, south-east London, on 18 January 1903 - the year the Wright brothers first took to the air, and the same year author George Orwell was born
  • She was the oldest of six siblings and went on to become the only surviving one of the five girls and one boy
  • She was brought up in Rottingdean, East Sussex, and went on to become a concert pianist before starting a car hire business in the 1920s
  • She later ran Kingscliff House School, which is now Brighton College
  • After being widowed in 1977, she moved to the Isle of Wight two years later to be near her son Derek Hermiston, 85, a retired pilot
  • She became the UK's oldest person three days before her 112th birthday, after Ethel Lang, of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, died aged 114