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UK's oldest woman dies aged 111

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Aida Mason 'vividly remembered' the sinking of the Titanic

The oldest woman in the UK has died at the age of 111, Guinness World Records confirmed today.

Aida Mason, from Upton, West Yorkshire, died in her sleep on Friday, her granddaughter said.

Janet Howse said her grandmother put her long life down to eating bread and dripping with salt every day, as well as "clean living".

Mrs Howse, 61, from South Kirkby, West Yorkshire, said: "She was a remarkable woman. Everybody liked her.

"She had a hard life but she was always really cheerful and never moaned like some women.

"It was always a pleasure to go and visit her. She would always say 'Come in and have a cup of tea'.

"She just took things in her stride."

Mrs Mason was born on September 24, 1895 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.

She "vividly remembered" the sinking of the Titanic when she was 16 years old, as well as the funeral of Queen Victoria, when she was just six.

She left school at the age of 13 and went into service with a family in Bradford, West Yorkshire, who ran an off-licence.

She earned a shilling a week, which she sent home to her mother in a slice of buttered bread.

She married John Mason, a miner, in 1914 and they lived together in Upton until his death in 1962.

Mrs Howse said her grandmother did not have a career. "In those days it was a struggle just to bring up the children," she said.

She survived all five of her children and has 12 grandchildren.

Mrs Howse said it was impossible to work out how many great-grandchildren there are because some of them have re-married or moved away.

Mrs Mason spent two seasons with her husband at Butlins in Filey, North Yorkshire, and Skegness, Lincolnshire, where she worked making sandwiches.

Mrs Howse said: "She was remarkable. She was perfectly all right until a month ago.

"She lived on her own until she was 110, then went in a nursing home.

"She was bed-bound the last couple of years.

"She was chatting away up to a month ago and then she went downhill."

Mrs Howse said five generations of the family will attend the funeral at St Margaret's Church in North Elmsall on Friday.

She said her grandmother was also blessed with good genes, having brothers who lived into their late 90s, and an auntie who lived until she was 104.

Guinness World Records confirmed that Mrs Mason became the oldest woman in the UK after the death of Annie Knight, from Glasgow, on November 27, 2006. She was born on June 6, 1895.

It is still investigating who now holds the title.

Copyright Press Association 2007.

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