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Eileen Ash

Test Validator
Validated By: Test Validator On Date: May. 05th 2022

Eileen May Ash (née Whelan) was a British supercentenarian and former cricketer who played seven Test matches for England between 1937 and 1949. She was the oldest living international cricketer and was the oldest living person in the county of Norfolk. Her age has been validated by the European Supercentenarian Organisation (ESO) and recognised by LongeviQuest (LQ).


Ash was born as Eileen May Whelan in Highbury, London on 3o October 1911. She was the eldest child of Irish-born James Joseph Whelan and his wife, Charlotte Mercy George. She had two younger brothers, Jack and Kenneth, the latter of whom died in World War II.

Ash played Test cricket both before and after World War II, making her debut against Australia at Northampton in June 1937 and playing her last game against New Zealand in Auckland in March 1949. A specialist bowler, she took 10 Test wickets at 23 runs apiece. She also played representative cricket for the Civil Service, Middlesex and South of England.

At the start of World War II, Ash worked as a telephonist at her local post office. Outside of playing cricket, she was employed by the Civil Service from the age of 18. She was seconded to MI6 during the war, and went on to work with the organisation for 11 years.

Ash married her husband, Wilfrid Sidney Ash, in 1950. The couple had no children, and later retired to Norwich. Ash took up golf in later life, continuing to play until the age of 98. She was widowed in 2004.

Ash was still driving aged 105, and did yoga regularly at 107. She stated that her most prized possessions included her test cap and a cricket bat signed for her by Sir Donald Bradman at a French restaurant in Sydney in 1949. Her secret to longevity was “Being happy and smiling a lot, red wine, and keeping fit with yoga!

In December 2020 and January 2021, Ash received her two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, making her one of its oldest recipients. She died on 3 December 2021 at the age of 110 years, 34 days.

Biography partially sourced from Gerontology Wiki

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In 2011, Ash became the first female test cricketer to live to 100 years old. She was made an honorary life member of the Marylebone Cricket Club to mark the occasion.

In July 2017, aged 105, Ash rang the bell at Lord’s to signal the start of play at the 2017 Women’s World Cup Final, which England won. She passed her driving test at the age of 105, a feat covered on the ITV reality show 100-Year-Old Driving School. To mark her 106th birthday, she was taken for a flight in a Tiger Moth. In November 2018, she opened a sports hall named in her honour at The Hewett Academy in Norwich.

Ash’s age was verified by Andrew Holmes and validated by the ESO on 5 May 2022.

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World’s Oldest Test Cricketer Eileen Whelan Turns 109