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COVID survivor who lived through 1918 flu pandemic celebrates 105th birthday

Jimmy Nsubuga
·2-min read
Kathleen Wiltshire on her 105th birthday (SWNS)
Kathleen Wiltshire on her 105th birthday (SWNS)

One of the oldest people in the UK to survive coronavirus has celebrated her 105th birthday.

Kathleen Wiltshire, who also lived through the 1918 influenza pandemic, amazed her carers by making a full recovery from COVID-19 to be able to mark the occasion.

She turned 105 just eight weeks after being struck down with the virus.

Staff at Dene Court Care Home in Exeter, Devon, were worried her dementia would worsen when she was placed isolation in November, but she pulled through.

Carers have now described her as a "very tough, strong lady" who exceeded all expectations to be able to enjoy her celebrations this week.

Kathleen Wiltshire lived through the 1918 influenza pandemic (SWNS)
She celebrated her birthday with carers (SWNS)

When Wiltshire tested positive for coronavirus last year, staff acknowledged they were "extremely worried".

Aged 104 at the time, there was the "possibility that Kath would not come through that", care manager Bridgette Armstrong said.

Armstrong said: "Being in your room 24/7, I think it was a big strain on Kath.

"We're absolutely over the moon that Kath is here to see her 105th birthday.

"I think that there's hope there.

"It gives that positive feeling to everybody and the uplift to know you can get it at any age and pull through."

Kathleen Wiltshire lived through the 1918 influenza pandemic (SWNS)
Kathleen Wiltshire lived through the 1918 influenza pandemic (SWNS)

John Holliday, manager of Dean Court Care Home, added: "She’s full of life. She was determined to get back out to be with everybody and enjoy her daily life again.

"She's an amazing woman who is made of good stuff."

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Wiltshire moved to Devon in the 1970s and became president of a Women's Institute group, and was also a keen golfer.

Typically a "social" character within the home, staff said she had became "withdrawn" when she was forced to isolate from other residents.

Watch: What you can and can't do during England's third national lockdown