December 6 2013 Latest news:
Alistair Kleebauer, Senior reporter
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
A great-grandmother from Gants Hill, believed to have been 113 years old and the second oldest person in the country, has died with her family at her side.
Charlotte Hughes was the oldest verified woman in the UK when she died in 1993 aged 115 years 228 days, according to the Gerontology Research Group (GRG).
The oldest living person in the UK is Grace Jones, who is 113 years old and 79 days, according to the group.
If it had been verified, Nanuben’s age would have made her older than the second verified oldest living person in the UK, Ethel Lang, who is 112 years old and 272 days.
The oldest living person in the world is Jiroemon Kimura, a 115-year-old man living in Japan, according to GRG.
There are only five supercentenarians (people who have reached the age of 110) in the UK verified by GRG and 62 worldwide.
The longest verified human lifespan was Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment’s remarkable 122 years and 164 days.
She died in 1997.
Nanuben Kanzaria, who lived in Bramley Crescent, Gants Hill, passed away in King George Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes, on Thursday after contracting pneumonia.
She was surrounded by three generations of her family.
Her great-granddaughter, Namrata Kanzaria, 23, a former Valentines High School pupil who lives in Gants Hill, said: “She had a really nice heart and nature, even in the last stages when she was in pain.
“She was so mobile until last week when she started to go downhill.”
She was born in a tiny village, Weraar, in Gujurat, India, in 1900, the same year the first passenger train travelled from Cairo to Khartoum, and moved to London aged 80 years old to be with her son Ramji Kanzaria.
Her age would have made her the second oldest person in the United Kingdom, if verified, but Namrata said a mix-up with her Indian passport meant her age was given as around eight years younger.
Namrata said: “She was actually 113, they didn’t do passports properly then, they messed the date up.
“In the hospital they said she was the oldest patient they’d ever had.
“The nurses and doctors said she didn’t look her age, they said she looked 80 at the most.”
The mistake transferred to her British passport, according to her great-granddaughter.
Nanuben worked picking crops and as a housewife in India and was married to Govabhai.
They had one son, Ramji, now in his 80s.
Two other children died at a young age and Govabhai died when Ramji was only fours year old.
Namrata put the secret of her great-grandmother’s longevity down to a “simple diet” though she said Nanuben threw caution to the wind in later years, enjoying diet Coke, pizza and chips.
Namrata said: “She was walking and really mobile, it was not what you would have expected from someone over 100 years old.”
She had three grandchildren Liladhar, Harsha, and Jayesh; and two other great-grandchildren, Jigna, 26 and Jainisha, 21, also of Gants Hill.