Covid does not impress London’s oldest woman, who is 108 years old: ‘Nothing compared to World War One!’
As she celebrated her 108th birthday, London’s oldest woman compared the coronavirus outbreak to “nothing compared to the First World War.”
Sarah “Betty” Spear was born in Ireland in 1913, less than a year before World War I broke out. Ms Spear was five years old when the war ended, making her one of the few people who can compare how the world reacted to two entirely different global catastrophes that occurred a century apart.
Due to Covid limitations in effect at the time, the former nurse was unable to see her grandchildren or great grandchildren last year.
Her entire family, as well as many friends and even the local mayor, gathered at St Judes Nursing Home in Sutton, south London, to wish her a happy 108th birthday.
“Oh no, not really,” Mrs Spear answered when asked if COVID-19 was the worst event in the last 100 years.
“The worst event was the First World War; Covid pales in comparison.
“When I was a youngster, I came over from Ireland to study nursing.
“I don’t believe the NHS fared well under Covid. People aren’t as friendly as they used to be.”
Mrs Spear traveled to London at the age of 18 to study nursing and went on to work in the Carshalton area of London.
She met and married George Spear in 1947 before giving birth to their “beautiful daughter” Anne, both of whom died of heart illness, and she outlived them both.
Mrs Spear attributes her longevity to “hard work and a swig of whisky once a week.”
“You couldn’t stop her if you tried, bless her,” Jane Welch, her 50-year-old granddaughter, added.
“She loved to do the Irish jig until she was almost 103 years old.
“She’s been through a lot because she lost her daughter, you know. She retired at the age of 90 and subsequently quit smoking after her daughter, my mother, died. She broke her hip two years later after falling down a flight of stairs from top to bottom – she’s a tough nut.
“She’s seen conflicts and always comes out fighting, and I’m glad to call her my grandmother.”
A letter from the Queen wishing Mrs Spear a happy 108th birthday was among the 25 cards she received.
“Brinkwire Summary News” was a cake with candles spelling out 108.