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BIOGRAPHY

Hodnett was born in Harlesden, London, England, UK, on 1 April 1914. After her father was called up to serve in World War I, Marjorie, her mother, and her older brother Gilbert moved in with an aunt. When her mother returned to work, Marjorie spent some days with another aunt. At the age of four, she spent one term at school in Folkestone, staying with a third aunt.

For most of her life, starting at the age of 20, she worked as a teacher and taught thousands of children. She studied teacher training at Southlands College from 1932 to 1934. Her mother had wanted her to become a teacher and, as she noted, there were not many opportunities for girls at the time. During her time at Southlands, she served as an officer, responsible for locking the accommodation doors, ensuring the lights were turned off at night, and making sure all the supplies needed by the teachers were in the classroom for the next day. She trained to teach French, geography, and handwork and needlework.

In 1939, she met her first husband, Stanley Hodnett, but he passed away in 1956. After his passing, she married his brother, Haydn “Hugh” Hodnett in 1956. The same year, the couple moved to Sidbury in Devon, where she worked at All Saint’s Primary School. However, her second husband passed away several years later. She was raised as a Wesleyan Methodist, and when she was widowed for the second time, she found great support in her church. She sang at the 1948 Olympics ceremony in London. She had no children. Some of her passions included country dancing and painting. At the age of 50, she took seven months’ leave from work to sail to New Zealand.

Hodnett served as President of the Sidbury Women’s Institute shortly after moving to Sidbury, volunteered with Meals on Wheels, and led a choir until she was 95. In 2008, she moved into Abbeyfield Court sheltered accommodation in Sidmouth. In 2016, she published a book of her poetry to help raise funds for revitalizing the garden at Abbeyfield Court. She began to write poetry after joining the Women’s Institute.

In 2020, she moved to Formby, to live closer to her relatives. She reportedly had multiple centenarians in her family. Her great-aunt and two cousins from each side of the family lived to be centenarians. Her mother lived to 94 and her father to 82, despite contracting illnesses as a soldier. Additionally, five of her father’s sisters all lived to be over 90. She is known by her relatives as “Auntie Marj”. Regarding her secret to a long life, she said, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

RECOGNITION

Her age was verified by Andrew Holmes, and validated by the ESO on 7 April 2024.

ATTRIBUTION

* “Marjorie Hodnett” – University of Roehampton

* “Marjorie Hodnett, Devon, 102 on April 1, 2016” – Reader’s Digest, 2016

* “Marjorie, 102, proves age no object with bumper sales of her book on Sidmouth” – Sidmouth Herald, 13 August 2016

* “108-year-old woman who survived covid shares secret to long life” – Adomonline.com, 25 March 2022

* “Woman about to turn 110 shares five rules to a long life” – Liverpool Echo, 22 March 2024

* “Merseyside’s oldest woman celebrates her 110th birthday surrounded by friends and family” – ITVX, 1 April 2024

GALLERY

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