Betty survives two world wars and cancer to dance on her 104th birthday

Eunice (Betty) Knight of Boston, celebrating her 104th birthday. Pictured with her daughter Maureen Woodcock.
Eunice (Betty) Knight of Boston, celebrating her 104th birthday. Pictured with her daughter Maureen Woodcock.

When Eunice Knight was born her parents didn’t think she would survive - 104 years later she was dancing on her birthday.

The incredible Swineshead-born woman, known as ‘Betty’, has just celebrated the incredible 104th milestone with five generations of her family.

“She’s almost blind and hard of hearing now, but other than that’s she’s absolutely fine,” said daughter Maureen Woodcock. “It’s incredible that I will be 77 this year and I still have my mother.”

Betty was born in Swineshead on March 12, 1911, the ninth of 12 children and is the only surviving sibling.

“She was the one they didn’t think would survive,” explained Maureen. “She must have been very small and they put her in the corner thinking she might die, as back then they didn’t have any doctors in the village they could call out. A woman from the Abbey would send special food out every day to help build her up.”

She met her late husband George and they married in 1937, spending all their lives in villages around Boston and South Lincolnshire. Betty used to cycle every day from Swineshead to Boston - even doing so on her wedding day.

“They got married at the registry office in Boston, went for fish and chips, then to see the pictures before cycling to Kirton Fen for their honeymoon,” said Maureen.

Betty worked as a a school caretaker and at the old bakers in West Street before retiring 44 years ago.

“Mum has had several falls and broken bones over the years and in 1993 she had cancer and we thought that was the end. But she got through it on the chemo tablets and she survived it. She’s incredible.

“She’s been a great mother, very strict, but she would have given us the world if she could have.”

Maureen said her mum has always been positive of mind - and a devout Christian, adding: “She’s got a strong faith and prays every day - and that’s what has helped her to keep going.”

Betty celebrated her birthday at Skirbeck Court Nursing Home, in Boston, with family and friends. She has two children, Maureen and son Ken, six grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren - with another on the way.

Skirbeck Court’s home manager Jean Bamber commented: “Betty is really amazing and even though she’s 104 she’s always chatting - she even danced on her birthday. “I said to her if I look as good as you do now when I’m aged 80 I will be a happy woman.”