105-year old ex-England Ladies cricketer who worked at MI6 shares secret of long life

Former women's England cricketer Eileen Ash, now 105, she attends a Yoga class on Tuesdays and drive

Former women's England cricketer Eileen Ash, now 105, she attends a Yoga class on Tuesdays and drives there in her yellow Mini. Photo by Simon Finlay. - Credit: Archant

An apple every day and yoga are among the secrets of achieving a long life, according to an ex-MI6 worker and international cricketer.

And that is a recipe that should not be sniffed at, given the fact it has worked wonders for great-grandmother Eileen Ash, of Norwich, who turned 105 last weekend.

The centenarian, who says 'age is just a number', still gets around in her trusted yellow Mini to do yoga every Tuesday and is planning to play more bowls in her 106th year.

Today's world is a far cry from 1911 – the year Mrs Ash was born – when Liberal politician Herbert Asquith was prime minister, George V was king, and one in seven employed people worked as domestic servants.

'I don't feel any different from the 90s,' she said. 'I put it down to yoga, you get out and you do these exercises and they are good for you.

'They keep my muscles going.

'I eat reasonably well and sensibly, and I always have an apple a day.'

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Mrs Ash's life could fill several biographies.

A talented sportsman, she began playing cricket for a women's team through her employers at the Civil Service.

She went on to play for Middlesex before making her debut for the England Ladies team at the Oval in 1937.

Her finest performance came during a tour of Australia in 1948. Playing at Ballarat, in Victoria, the talented bowler took five wickets for just 10 runs, before smashing a century with the bat.

Among her highlights from her sports career is a meeting with legendary Australian batsman Donald Bradman, who gave her a signed bat which she still keeps by her bed 'in case of burglars'.

Away from the cricket pitch, Mrs Ash spent 11 years working for MI6, a period in her life which she has shed little information on since.

And only last year she was filmed in an ITV documentary called 100 Year Old Drivers Ride Again, which explored why some of Britain's oldest drivers still get behind the wheel.

Funnily enough Mrs Ash has never officially passed a driving test despite having a full licence, because she was born 23 years before tests were introduced.

So how did she celebrate her 105th birthday?

'I had a lot of wine,' Mrs Ash said.

'I don't know how people know that I like wine but they keep sending me it.

'My wine cellar is nice and full.'

As for the long-term future, Mrs Ash said: 'I have to go for my second century.'

Are you or a family member celebrating a milestone birthday? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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