Accolade alert: Croydon’s most famous smoker
Local papers can never resist the lure of a story about an old dear.
Mind you, you can’t really blame them when the old dear in question was so ruthlessly dedicated to smoking that she only gave up once she could no longer see the other end of cigarettes in order to light them. This is surely the equivalent of weaning oneself off smack because you can no longer muster the strength to press the syringe.
Croydon Advertiser, 13 August 2010 (story):
Woman who smoked for more than 90 years dies aged 102
CROYDON’S most famous smoker has died at the age of 102, after a life in which she puffed her way through 170,000 cigarettes.
Beatrice Langley, known to everyone as Winnie, started sparking up when she was just eight years old.
Winnie – who despite her habit outlived her husband Robert, son Don and 10 stepchildren – only stopped smoking last Christmas.
And this was not due to health worries, but because she could not see the end of the cigarettes to light them any more.
Anne Gibbs, Winnie’s niece, described her aunt as young-at-heart and an avid reader.
“I think it was doing all her crossword puzzles that kept her mind so young,” she added.
“She never lost her marbles right to the very end – she was feisty and stubborn and had a marvellous sense of humour.
Is there such a thing as an old person who isn’t ‘young at heart’? I’m yet to hear of one.
Thanks to Nick Henegan.