Test cricketer Eileen Ash dies aged 110

Tributes have been paid to former test cricketer and Norfolk’s oldest woman, Eileen Ash who has died, aged 110.

Eileen, parishioner of St George’s, Norwich, celebrated her 110th birthday in October and was the country’s oldest living Test cricketer.

After making her Test debut against Australia in 1937, Eileen made seven appearances for England either side of the Second World War.

She was seconded to MI6 during the war, played golf until the age of 98 and did yoga and drove her yellow Mini well past her centenary.

St George’s Parish Priest, Fr Sean Connolly, said: “Shortly after I came to the parish, I was informed just before Mass that one of the parishioners had just turned 103. Not knowing everyone by name at that stage, when I looked out into the congregation to see who it might be, I couldn’t see anyone I thought might be that age.

“At the end of Mass we sang Eileen happy birthday and I was shocked to find a sprightly lady looking in her mid-70s smiling and waving at everyone.

“Eileen used to speed into the car park in her beloved yellow Mini. She loved driving and the independence it gave her. When, a couple of years ago, she was finally advised to give it up, I thought she might be up for a fight. All she did was shrug and say, ‘Well, I had a good innings’.”

Fellow St George’s parishioner, Philip Mason, said: “Our family has known Eileen for a number of years, and it was my privilege to take Eileen to Mass each week, usually at Our Lady’s on St William’s Way. It was always a joyful experience as Eileen was always upbeat about everybody and everything. I never knew what she would say next as we drove along.”

Clare Connor, England Cricket Board’s managing director of women’s cricket, said: “Our sport owes so much to its pioneers and Eileen was one of them. I am deeply sad to be saying goodbye to her today.”

Eileen is pictured above ringing the bell to start play in the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup Final at Lord’s. Picture by Clare Skinner/MCC.

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