Merah Smith

  • Full name: Merah Louise Smith
  • Lifespan: 09.11.1912 – present
  • Age: 111 years
  • Birthplace: Windsor Castle, Saint Mary, Jamaica
  • Last residence: Croydon, Greater London, England, UK
  • Application date: 04.11.2023
  • Validation date: 12.12.2023
  • Validation source: Oliver Trim

Biography

Merah Smith’s life journey is a testament to resilience, courage, and a commitment to service that has spanned continents and decades.

Born in Saint Mary, Jamaica, on November 9, 1912, Merah encountered both the challenges and joys of life. Meeting her husband James in the 1930s, they embarked on a journey together, only to face the tragedy of his passing from stomach cancer in the 1950s. Undeterred by the adversities she faced, Merah displayed remarkable strength.

In 1963, Merah made a significant decision to emigrate to the UK, having experienced the upheavals of both World War I and World War II in Jamaica. Her indomitable spirit extended into unexpected realms, as she actively participated in kickboxing until the impressive age of 103.

Smith was still going to the gym – using its machines and attending classes including kickboxing and line dancing – until she developed a knee problem at 103.

At the age of 103, she still had all of her own teeth. Old age hasn’t stopped her from making the most of life – and at the age of 103 she spent two weeks on holiday in Jamaica and in the summer went to Cumbria for a granddaughter’s wedding. She was dropped off at the station by her son and then made the journey home on her own.

At the age of 105, Smith still lived in her own fifth-floor flat, in Cromwell House, in Old Town, with son Tony. One compromise she has made because of her age is that she normally takes the lift as “it takes ages” to get down the stairs. At 105, she still went to Thornton Heath Evangelical Church at least twice a week, taking a bus or a taxi to get there.

Remarkably, Merah Smith said she didn’t feel all that old. “I feel like I’m just 12 or 17,”; “I work a lot and I get outside and I go to my church and I do little things and keep busy in general, I have a lot of family things and stay active in my community.”

Merah’s commitment to well-being and resilience was further demonstrated in January 2021 when, at the age of 108, she received the COVID-19 vaccine, contributing to her status as one of the oldest individuals to receive vaccination against the disease.

Reaching the milestone of 110 years in November 2022, Merah celebrated becoming a supercentenarian surrounded by the love of her three children, six grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren. She ate well, she fresh food and she didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, she’s had a good life and she came from a family of long livers – she’s not the oldest in her family, reportedly she had a grandfather who died at 108

In May 2023, Merah’s dedicated service was acknowledged when she, alongside rapper Stormzy, received the Freedom of the Borough Award from Croydon Council for her contributions to the National Health Service (NHS).

Following the passing of Merle O’Hara on November 4, 2023, Merah Smith assumed the title of the oldest known living Jamaican-born person, a recognition of her enduring legacy.

Merah’s age, meticulously verified by GRG-UK Correspondent Oliver Trim, was officially validated by the Gerontology Research Group on December 12, 2023.

Currently residing in Croydon, Greater London, England, UK, at the age of 111 years and 43 days, Merah Smith continues to inspire with her resilience, dedication to service, and the rich tapestry of a life well-lived.

Validation

The age of Merah Smith was meticulously examined and verified by Mr. Oliver Trim, GRG-United Kingdom Correspondent, and validated by the GRG as of December 12, 2023.

Merah Smith at age 110.

Merah Smith as a young woman in the 1940s.

Merah Smith with her children in the 1960s.

Merah Smith in the 1970s and in the 1980s.

Merah Smith, as centenarian, at the gym.

Merah Smith at age 105.

Merah Smith with her daughter Astrid and Astrid’s husband Vernon.

Smith (aged 108) receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on 19 January 2021

Merah Smith on her 109th birthday in 2021.

Merah Smith (aged 110) in May 2023.

Photo courtesy of Croydon News, and Your Croydon.

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