One of Sheffield's oldest women dies aged 107

Kathleen 'Kay' Travis turned 107 last year. Picture: Chris Etchells
Kathleen 'Kay' Travis turned 107 last year. Picture: Chris Etchells
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A great-grandmother who could lay claim to being one of Sheffield's oldest women has died three months shy of her 108th birthday - leaving her body to medical science so experts can study her longevity.

Despite being well into her 11th decade, Kathleen 'Kay' Travis lived virtually independently in her own home in Crosspool, enjoying treats such as takeaway pizza, fish and chips and a regular glass of whiskey which she regarded as 'good medicine'.

Her son, Jon, aged 78, said Kay had suffered declining health over the past few months. Her last days were spent in The Laurels and The Limes care home, Broomhill.

"Despite her physical disabilities she remained mentally alert until a few days before she died. She always said that playing bridge until into her 90's helped to keep her brain active - and, of course, the occasional glass of whiskey. She was a lovely lady with a great sense of humour and both family and friends will really miss her."

There is to be a short memorial service instead of a funeral as Kay's body will go to Leicester University; she chose to make the donation before she died.

"I think they want to find out why she lived so long," said Jon.

Kay was born in Sheffield on August 14, 1910. Her father, John Gamble, was a soldier in World War I who died in action in 1917, days away from his daughter’s seventh birthday. Her mother later remarried and had a son.

She taught dancing before tying the knot with her husband, Reginald, who managed the long-established silvermakers Travis, Wilson & Co, which was sold in 1976 and eventually became part of Pinder Bros.

Key was settled in the same house for 80 years, and was a keen gardener before arthritis curtailed that pastime. Trips out for lunch with friends and family, and shopping excursions with her carers, were regular fixtures until very recently.

She marked her 107th birthday last August with meals at the Crosspool Tavern and Nonna's on Ecclesall Road, before hosting a tea party at home on the day itself.

As well as Jon, she leaves two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Kay died on May 4 after a short illness.

"I think she was an amazing woman, basically," her son said.

The service is at St John's Church Parish Centre, Ranmoor, on June 23 at 2pm.