A life lived over three centuries: UK’s oldest woman dies aged 115

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  • Sant Kaur Bajwa was the UK’s oldest and world’s second-oldest person
  • She was born in 1898 and lived through two world wars
  • Mrs Bajwa left behind 28 great-grandchildren

The UK’s oldest person has died at the age of 115 years and 199 days.

Sant Kaur Bajwa was born on January 1 1898 in Pakistan but had lived in England since the 1960s, with her life spanning three centuries and two world wars.

She was officially the UK’s oldest and the world’s second oldest person when she died of natural causes on Friday and is survived by 12 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.

When her daughter died in 1972, Mrs Bajwa, then 74, took on the role of caring for her four children, including her twin sons who were just six at the time.

The pair, 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,’ they said.

‘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 Sialkote, Punjab, in what is now Pakistan, Mrs Bajwa lost both parents when she was young and she 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 just 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.