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Ethel Caterham

Stefan Maglov
Validated By: Stefan Maglov On Date: Jan. 31st 2023

Ethel May Caterham is a British supercentenarian who is the oldest person living in the United Kingdom, as well as the last surviving person in the UK born in the 1900s decade.


Ethel Caterham was born on 21 August 1909 in Shipton Bellinger, Hampshire, England, and grew up in Tidworth, Wiltshire, England. She was the second-youngest of eight children. In 1927, at the age of 18, she got a job as a nanny to a British family in India and traveled alone for three weeks by ship to India. She worked there for three years before returning to England.

In 1931, Caterham met her future husband Norman, a major in the British Army, at a dinner party. The couple married in Salisbury Cathedral where Norman was a choirboy and they lived together in Harnham, England, before they were stationed in Hong Kong and Gibraltar.

While living in Hong Kong, Caterham started a nursery for local and British children where she taught English, games, and crafts. While in Gibraltar, she and her husband started their family, eventually raising two girls back in the UK.

Caterham has lived in Surrey, England, for more than 50 years. She drove until she was 97 years old and was a regular bridge player in her centenarian years. She currently lives in a care home in Ash Vale, Surrey.

In 2020, at the age of 110, Caterham contracted COVID-19 during the coronavirus pandemic. However, she successfully recovered, making her one of the oldest known survivors of the disease.

Caterham celebrated her 111th birthday in August 2020 with a tea party and a visit from the Mayor of Surrey Heath. A week beforehand, she was interviewed along with her granddaughter on BBC Radio Surrey.

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September 2022, Caterham became one of only two people in the United Kingdom (along with Rose Eaton) to have been a subject of both Edward VII and Charles III. Following the death of Rose Eaton on 7 October 2022, Caterham became the last living person in the United Kingdom to have been born in the 1900s decade and also the last surviving British subject of Edward VII.

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Caterham became the oldest known living person in Surrey following the death of 109-year-old Kay Hurley on 17 January 2019.

Caterham became the oldest known living person in the United Kingdom following the death of 112-year-old Mollie Walker on 22 January 2022.

In August 2022, Caterham celebrated her 113th birthday, making her the first person in the United Kingdom to reach this age since Olive Boar in 2017.

Her age was verified by Stefan Maglov, and validated by LongeviQuest on 31 January 2023. Her age was previously validated by the European Supercentenarian Organisation (ESO).