York­shire fam­ily send love to the old­est woman in Com­mon­wealth

Yorkshire Post - - NEWS -

A YORK­SHIRE fam­ily was cel­e­brat­ing to­day af­ter a grand­mother cel­e­brated her 116th birth­day with a tele­gram from the Queen.

Masima Leonora Noel, in­set, born in 1901, is be­lieved to be the old­est per­son alive in the Bri­tish Com­mon­wealth and fourthold­est woman in the world.

Her grand­daugh­ter Mau­reen Pope, of Hud­der­s­field, West York­shire, said: “She is amaz­ing. We are wit­ness­ing some­thing ex­tra­or­di­nary.”

Mrs Noel lives on Car­ri­a­cou, an is­land of Gre­nada in the Caribbean, and is a great-great-grand­mother to six chil­dren.

Her daugh­ter Olga Pope, also of Hud­der­s­field, said: “We are send­ing our love and birth­day wishes and we are very pleased that the Queen is send­ing her spe­cial greet­ing.” “We want to tell her how proud we are that she has reached this age. She is do­ing well and we love her very much.” Mrs Noel lives in a sim­ple wooden house she shares with an 85-year-old daugh­ter on Car­ri­a­cou, a tiny is­land, and she is the old­est per­son in Gre­nada, where neighbours help to look af­ter her. The fam­ily sends gifts from York­shire but the long jour­ney rules out a birth­day trip for widow Olga Pope, 81, who said: “I went to visit a few months ago. I will be think­ing of her on her birth­day, as I do ev­ery day. She is very spe­cial. She is a lovely mother and she has had an amaz­ing life.”

Mrs Noel as a child walked for more than an hour to and from school on dusty tracks. She had daily tasks at home: corn to grind by hand, an­i­mals to feed and “sky wa­ter” to col­lect when it rained.

She later crushed stones for road build­ing to pro­vide her fam­ily liveli­hood. She built her first home of straw and palm leaves. She worked as a maid, grew ground nuts, peas and pota­toes and sold on other is­lands.

Only three women through­out the world are older than her: two in Ja­pan and one in Spain.

Vi­o­let Brown from Ja­maica was the old­est in the Com­mon­wealth un­til her death in Septem­ber at 117.

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