Celebration of combined 210th birthday for two of Cornwall's oldest residents
TWO of Cornwall's oldest women saw in a combined 210th Christmas on Tuesday – after celebrating their birthdays on the same day last week.
Edith Goodwin, from Newquay, turned 107 last Thursday while Violet Knight, currently of Holywell, turned 103.
The pair have jointly seen 22 prime ministers come and go and lived under the reigns of four kings and a queen.
Violet was born and bred in Truro. Now a great-grandmother four times over, she celebrated her birthday with son Lionel, his wife Pat and staff at Holywell Bay Nursing Home, who made a cake.
Violet moved to the home only in July this year, after suffering a mini-stroke.
A former upholsterer and carpet-layer, Violet had always been fiercely independent and a great lover of the outdoors, Lionel said.
She won numerous medals for swimming, and during the Second World War worked for the county ambulance service and Air Raid Precautions (ARP).
"She was always so active," said Lionel. "That's why she's lived so long, I think.
"She loved the outdoor life and was a bit of a tomboy.
"She used to ride a motorbike, which was rare for women back then. She was a strong, independent woman in her day and has been a wonderful mother to me. She was famous for her pasties, too. They were delicious, and the size of plates."
When Edith was born in 1905 King Edward VII was on the throne, the Russian Revolution was just breaking out and Albert Einstein published his theory of special relativity.
She celebrated her birthday this year with Newquay mayor Kevin Towill, town crier David Bradshaw and friends and staff at the Hollybush Residential Home on Glamis Road.
A former teacher and Cambridge University graduate, she told the West Briton the secret to her long life was possibly that she never had children – although she always wanted to.
"It's a mystery, really," she said. "Maybe not having children helped. I like to be healthy and look after myself. I just get on with everything. That's what life's all about.
"I've had a lovely birthday and enjoyed a couple of drinks."
Born in Leeds, she moved to Leicester and married husband Lesley. The couple moved to Newquay in 1967.
"We'd been on holiday here lots of times and we thought it would be really nice to come and live down here," said Edith. "Newquay has changed a terrific amount since then."