Norfolk's oldest woman dies, aged 110
- Credit: Ella Wilkinson
The oldest living Test cricketer and Norfolk's oldest woman has died.
Eileen Ash celebrated her 110th birthday in October at Castlemeadow Care's St John's House care home in Norwich and had said that the secret of her long life was down to being happy, drinking red wine and keeping fit with yoga.
Ms Ash was a right-arm seamer and made seven appearances for England either side of the Second World War after making her Test debut against Australia in 1937.
Domestically, she represented the Civil Service Women, Middlesex Women and South Women before retiring in 1949.
During her remarkable life she was also seconded to MI6 during the war and played golf until the age of 98.
Her achievements were recognised as she rang the bell at Lord’s ahead of England Women’s victory in the 2017 World Cup final. She was also honoured with a portrait at Lord’s and honorary life membership of the MCC.
Clare Connor, England Cricket Board's managing director of women’s cricket, said: “Our sport owes so much to its pioneers and Eileen was one of them. I am deeply sad to be saying goodbye to her today.
“(England captain) Heather (Knight) and I went to visit Eileen about six months before the 2017 Women’s World Cup – she was 105 at the time – and it was one of the most remarkable experiences.
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“Eileen taught Heather yoga, we played snooker, we drank cups of tea and we leafed through newspapers and scrapbooks celebrating Eileen’s time as a player in the 1930s and 1940s.
“She regaled us with some amazing stories, including how she came to have her bat signed by Sir Donald Bradman at a French restaurant in Sydney in 1949. I know neither of us will ever forget that day, it was so special.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Eileen’s family as they come to terms with losing such a wonderful woman and the end of an astonishing life.”
After celebrating her 110th birthday in October, Ms Ash told this newspaper how 'lucky' she had been to do the things that she had in her life.
"I’ve been very close to my family and have been very lucky to have been healthy for so long.”
She was asked whether she has a secret for living so long, to which she replied “Being happy and smiling a lot, red wine, and keeping fit with yoga!”