Happy 113th birthday Bessie - Britain's oldest resident

By Sam Cooper | 23/06/2017

Happy 113th birthday Bessie - Britain's oldest resident
Seen at her Moorgate Lodge home is Bessie Camm, the oldest person in the UK, celebrating her 113th birthday. 171043-2

SUPER-CENTENARIAN Bessie Camm continues to make history after celebrating her 113rd birthday.

The country’s oldest citizen, who once treated former Conservative leader William Hague during her time as a nurse, marked the big day with a celebration at Moorgate Lodge Care Home on Tuesday.

She became the longest-living surviving citizen in July last year following the death of Gladys Hooper, from Ryde on the Isle of Wight, at the age of 113 years and 173 days.

Bessie previously spent 30 years living at the Willow Court sheltered housing scheme in Wath.

There, she told staff the secret to long life was “hard work, knowing lovely people and good food”.

Lesley Lester, staff nurse at Moorgate Lodge, said: “Bessie is an inspiration. 

“We got her a cake and decorated her room for her but we have to be careful not to overdo it - she has got 113 years in her.

“She is really happy and always telling us tales of when she worked as a nurse.”

Born in Swaledale, North Yorkshire, in 1904, Bessie attended a Quaker school before qualifying as a nurse in 1926, working as a ward sister and then a theatre sister at Montagu Hospital in Mexborough.

She later moved to North Yorkshire and filled the role of matron at Richmond Hospital, using her considerable skills to assist doctors across the region during the Second World War.

Following the war, Bessie worked for five years as an industrial nurse at Parkgate Forge, where her late husband was a metallurgist.

She later nursed current Foreign Secretary William Hague and once attended a dinner party at his parents’ Parkgate home when he was a young boy.

Bessie said: “I had a good life as a nurse, but I wouldn’t do it today - not for all the tea in China.”

When she returned to Montagu Hospital as a patient at the day care centre in the run-up to its own centenary in 2004, Bessie was delighted to be able to identify herself and her contemporaries in the photographs that were on show.  

Bessie married her husband John shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War.  

At Parkgate, where she and a small nursing team were resposible for the health of 4,000 workers, she won the thanks of doctors as well as her patients because she was able to stitch superficial wounds. 

This meant it was possible to treat injuries on-site which had previously needed trips to hospital in the company ambulance.

Following her retirement, Bessie lived in Wath with John and remained there following her widowhood in 1972.  

The couple did not have any children.

According to the Oldest in Britain website, the next oldest person is Olive Evelyn Boar of  Ipswich, who turns 113 in September.

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