Great- grandmother shares her tips for getting through pandemic

Listen to Granny! Great-grandmothers who have lived through BOTH World Wars share their advice to surviving a global crisis – including ‘remaining cheerful’ and ‘keeping to yourself’

  • Winifred Burgoyne, 108, from Bolton, Greater Manchester, worked as a weaver
  • She sewed gun belts for soldiers during both World Wars from the age of 14
  • May Willis, from East Sussex, celebrated her 110th birthday at home in lockdown 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Great-grandmothers who have lived through both World Wars have been sharing their advice to surviving a global crisis – including ‘working alone’ and ‘remaining cheerful’.  

Winifred Burgoyne, from Bolton, Greater Manchester, was born in 1911 and has lived through the sinking of the Titanic, two World Wars and the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.

And now, the pensioner has shared her own words of wisdom on how the world can get through the Covid-19 crisis together, revealing: ‘You’ve got to keep out of other people’s way and work on your own – you need to look after yourself.’ 

Winifred’s advice comes as May Willis, 110, from East Sussex, advised the key to surviving the crisis is ‘remaining cheerful’.    

Winifred Burgoyne, 108, who lives in a care home in Bolton and has survived two World Wars, has revealed her advice for surviving the coronavirus pandemic  

Winifred, who has lived through two World Wars, said the key to surviving a global pandemic was ‘looking after yourself’ (pictured, in 1956)  

May, who was born in 1910, explained: ‘Whatever your circumstances, you have to make the best of them and have a laugh.’

But despite being in lockdown, May marked the occasion with visits from her friends and her 84-year-old daughter Vera Smith.

May is now a ‘supercentenarian,’ making her one 15 people who are the oldest in the UK.    

And despite May living through many historical events, she said the coronavirus crisis stands out among the worst.  

May Willis, from East Sussex,  who celebrated her 110th birthday while in lockdown, advised ‘remaining cheerful’ during the coronavirus outbreak

May, who has two grandchildren in their sixties, said: ‘The restrictions from the current crisis are much worse than the two World Wars. You were free during the wars.’ 

She attributed her longevity to a ‘strict’ upbringing, meaning she has never drank or smoked, and enjoyed dog walking with her late husband Fred who died in 1989. 

The mother-of-one said: ‘I don’t feel any different from when I was sixty. People will sit and speak to you and you will forget that you are as old as you are.

‘I’ve loved every moment of my life. I’ve had a happy childhood and then a happy marriage. What more could you want?’   

May (pictured in her younger years) survived two World Wars but said the coronavirus crisis stands out among the worst

Meanwhile grandmother-of-two Winifred, who lives in a care home in Bolton, said people ‘need to look after themselves’ during global crisis like coronavirus in order to survive. 

She also revealed: ‘Most of all you need to look after babies because the first thing people do is smother them with kisses and that’s how a virus can spread.

She added: ‘I have been alright at the moment but I’m terrified if people come near me so I would tell them not to touch me.

‘We don’t know what is going to happen next so you have to care for yourself – and use disinfectant everywhere you go!’

Winifred is currently in lockdown at her care home in Bolton, Greater Manchester, and has been listening to music and doing armchair exercises to keep busy 

From the age of 14, Winifred worked as a weaver in a mill factory in Hulme, Manchester, sewing gun belts for soldiers during each World War. 

Winifred met her husband Ronald at a dance and the couple married in 1946 and had their daughter Linda in 1948. 

Ronald served in the RAF as a leading airman – and Winifred, known as Wini, admits she loved his uniform. 

They had a long and happy marriage before Ronald passed away in hospital in 2000.

Winifred is the 42nd oldest person in the UK and has received eight letters from the Queen on her birthdays.

The great-grandmother has been talking to her daughter Linda on the phone and advised her to stay safe 

She moved into a care home in 2015 and is currently enjoying keeping active in the garden and is enjoying armchair exercises and listening to music.

Her carers say Wini, who has dementia, has a very sharp sense of humour and loves to crack jokes, as well as still having a hearty appetite.

While her care home is in lockdown, she has been chatting to Linda on the phone and told her that it is important to stay positive about the current global pandemic.

Retired retail worker and mother-of-two Linda, 71, said: ‘My mum is a fighter – she’s witty, sharp and will put someone in their place and stand up for herself even though she’s only 4ft tall.

Winifred and her husband Ronald (left). The pensioner worked as a weaver from the age of 14

‘Her nickname was ‘6ft’ because even though she wasn’t that tall she was as strong as a 6ft man!

‘Mum worked at the factory for most of her life before she became pregnant with me and started working from home until I was 10. 

Linda added: ‘She always says the key to living long is ‘by being a good girl and clean living – and don’t ever bother with men!’

‘We’ve been keeping in touch with her on the phone and we’re all very proud of her.’

Winifred is described by a care worked as ‘very chilled out’ and enjoys dancing with scarves when the music is on 

Julie O’Connor, 54, who works at Wini’s care home, said: ‘She’s an absolutely amazing person and is very chilled out.

‘When we do activities like armchair exercise with the residents she loves the music we put on and waves the coloured scarves we give them.

‘She’s aware that a nasty bug is going around and says to us ‘oh I’ve done with that!’        

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