Born in what is now Pakistan in 1898, Sant Kaur Bajwa’s life spanned three centuries and two world wars
Britain’s oldest person has died at the age of 115 years and 199 days. Sant Kaur Bajwa was born on 1 January 1898 in what is now Pakistan but lived in England from the 1960s. Her life spanned three centuries and two world wars.
She was officially the UK’s oldest person and the world’s second oldest person when she died of natural causes on Friday. Twelve grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren survive her.
When her daughter, Surjit, died in 1972, Bajwa, then 74, took on the role of caring for four grandchildren, including twin sons of her daughter who were six at the time.
The twins, Jim and Bob Rai, who are now aged 47, made a joint statement in tribute to their grandmother.
“She was a formidable woman. A parent should never have to outlive their children and our grandmother suffered more than her fair share of tragedy during her lifetime.
“It was her inner strength and resolve that carried her forward. She fought and stood tall as the matriarch of the family. She will be sorely missed and we will never forget her flamboyant yet modest personality.”
Born in Sialkot, Punjab, Bajwa lost both parents when she was young and was raised by her elder sister.
At the age of 16 she married a farmer and gave birth to four children, but her husband, Munsha Singh, died six years after their marriage.
In 1966 she migrated to Southall, west London, to live with her son-in-law and daughter, and she remained in the area until her death.
Her strong Sikh faith was said to give her the optimism and strength to live as long as she did.
• This article was amended on 23 July 2013 to make clear that Bajwa was born in what is now Pakistan, rather than in Pakistan, which was not founded as a country at the time of her birth.