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Subject: Gateshead grandmother dies as UK's oldest person at 111

Written By: Philip Eno on 07/19/10 at 12:12 pm

The UK's oldest person has died just a month before her 112th birthday.

Eunice Bowman, who was born in 1898 and has seen six monarchs on the throne, died peacefully in her sleep at Hillside Grange Care Home in Gateshead.

The 111-year-old, who was widowed twice, had six children, 17 grandchildren, 32 great grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren.

Guinness World Records confirmed she was the UK's oldest person. She put her long life down to never smoking.

Mrs Bowman worked in a fish and chip shop well into her 80s and said "a tipple of honey" helped keep her going.

She lived on Tyneside for most of her life and lived independently until two years ago, when she moved into the home where she died on Friday.

Eunice was born in Lancashire on 23 August 1898, the second of 12 children.

When she was interviewed by the BBC on her 111th birthday, she said: "I've had a very happy life."

In about 1905 the family moved to the north-east of England so her father Thomas could find work and they settled in Felling.

When World War I broke out she went to work for the Armstrong munitions factory in Newcastle and the money she earned was used to help her family.

In 1919 she married Robert Pearson and they had four children. He contracted tuberculosis in 1928 and died.

When World War II started two of Eunice's sons, Norman and Thomas, enlisted into the Army and one was sent to Africa and the other to France.

Both returned after the war and went back to their jobs in the shipyards.

In 1941 Eunice married Frank Bowman and had two children - Sheila, who died as a child, and Ann, who was born in 1945. Frank died in 1950.

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