One of Leighton Buzzard’s oldest residents has died, aged 104

Gertrude 'Bubbles' Eatwell
Gertrude 'Bubbles' Eatwell

One of Leighton Buzzard’s oldest residents has died at the age of 104.

Gertrude “Bubbles” Eatwell died in her sleep on Tuesday, her family has announced.Bubbles, as she preferred to be known, celebrated her 104th birthday surrounded by her family and friends at Westlands Residential Home in July.

At the time her daughter Rosemary Channon told the LBO her mum was resting after a lifetime of travel, including working for the St John’s Ambulance Service in India during the Second World War. Rosemary said: “My mother has always been very outgoing and always busy looking out for other people. I don’t know what her secret is but I hope it’s in the genes!”

Bubbles was born in 1912 in London and grew up in Folkestone in Kent. She met soldier William Eatwell at a dance in Folkestone in the 1930s, where he saw her emerge through a cloud of bubbles. And it seems the nickname stuck! “She’s always been known as Bubbles and doesn’t like to be called Gertrude,” said Rosemary.

After her marriage, Bubbles accompanied husband William to Egypt and then to India, where they spent 12 years raising their two daughters. Rosemary said: “In India, my mother joined St John’s Ambulance Service. She looked after soldiers injured during the Bombay uprising at the end of the Second World War.”

After the war, Bubbles and her family moved to Fort William and then to Swindon, where she worked as an interior designer in pubs. “I think they found it difficult adjusting back in the UK,” said Rosemary. “I remember there was still rationing and our first winter seeing snow.”

A date for her funeral has yet to be announced.