Edith Laycock: Oldest woman in Sheffield who worked until she was 82 ‘proud’ to turn 107 years old

"One of the first times I met her, around six months ago, she kicked a ball so hard her slipper fell off"
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The woman believed to be the oldest in Sheffield has turned 107, adding a fourth royal birthday card to her collection, with two each from King Charles and Queen Elizabeth.

Edith Laycock, née Titman, worked from the age of 14 until she was 82 at WW Laycock & Sons, on Suffolk Road, and was presented with a British Empire Medal for long service when she retired.

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Edith, who was born on November 23, 1916, held various positions in the company, most recently doing administration and payroll, which her family says kept her mind active.

Edith opens her birthday card from the King, with her sister Margaret Elam and great-niece Nicola.Edith opens her birthday card from the King, with her sister Margaret Elam and great-niece Nicola.
Edith opens her birthday card from the King, with her sister Margaret Elam and great-niece Nicola.

Douglas Wright, Edith’s great nephew, said: “Until only a couple of years ago, she would look at a bill and work it out quicker than anyone else could. She was so switched-on.”

Her 68-year-long career is one of a few secrets to her long life suggested by her family, which also include drinking Baileys, and not having children.

Stephanie Hobson, activities coordinator at Norton Lees, thought Edith was no older than in her mid-80s when she met her six months ago.

Edith with a pet therapy rabbit.Edith with a pet therapy rabbit.
Edith with a pet therapy rabbit.
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She said: “Whenever I do ‘chairobics’ with them, she will be the only one getting involved. One of the first times I met her, she kicked a ball so hard her slipper fell off.”

Edith grew up on the Manor estate, with three sisters and two brothers.

She pointed to her 93-year-old sister Margaret Elam often at the family party, reminding her nieces and nephews, “that’s my sister”.

Edith's 107th birthday party: Douglas Wright, Sally Weaver, Richard Elam, Linda Wright, Nicola Simpson, Nina Beverley, Margaret Elam, and Edith Laycock (Titman). Edith's 107th birthday party: Douglas Wright, Sally Weaver, Richard Elam, Linda Wright, Nicola Simpson, Nina Beverley, Margaret Elam, and Edith Laycock (Titman).
Edith's 107th birthday party: Douglas Wright, Sally Weaver, Richard Elam, Linda Wright, Nicola Simpson, Nina Beverley, Margaret Elam, and Edith Laycock (Titman).

Margaret sat by her side, joking “that’s for me” as she unwrapped her presents.

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Until moving into Norton Lees Care Home at age 103, Edith lived alone in Totley, and stayed independent with the support of carers popping in during the day.

Sally Weaver, Edith’s great niece, said: “We used to go and spend the weekends with her, up until we were about 11. We would put concerts on for her.”

A felt picture made by Edith in a session at the care home. (Picture: Stephanie Hobson)A felt picture made by Edith in a session at the care home. (Picture: Stephanie Hobson)
A felt picture made by Edith in a session at the care home. (Picture: Stephanie Hobson)

Sally’s sister Nicola, also great niece of Edith, added: “And she got us to do housework when we were there! Well, not really, but she'd get us to get the feather duster out to keep us entertained while she was cooking.”

“At any gathering, the kids would put on concerts for her and the other adults,” added Linda Wright, Edith’s niece. “She never changes.”

On her family coming to spend her 107th birthday with her, Edith said: “I feel proud. Very proud.”