Former MI5 operative - and colleague of Winston Churchill - who bravely survived COVID celebrates 106th birthday in Dewsbury care home
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Catherine Grace, who was born on November 1, 1917, in London, held a secretive government role within MI5 which involved working alongside the former Prime Minister.
A keen gardener and ballroom dancer throughout her “extraordinary” life, Auntie Kitt, as she is affectionately known, moved into Oak Park Care Home, on Walnut Lane, shortly before her 100th birthday after spending three years with her half-cousin, Marie Nebard, in Middlestown.
In 2020, she made national headlines after surviving COVID-19 despite doctors informing the family she was likely to pass away.
Marie said: “She is just an absolutely amazing lady. She was very secretive. We used to go down to see her and it was all very secret; where she was and what she was doing. I never knew. It was only when she came to live with me she said, ‘You don’t know where I’ve been. I worked for MI5.’ I thought it was all baloney.
“We took her to London and went on an open top bus. Before the tour guide could speak on that bus, she told us, ‘That’s where I was, in those offices and that’s where Winston would come and I hated his cigar smoke.’
“The guy on the bus then said we’re just passing the MI5 offices and this is where Winston Churchill was. Auntie Kitt had just told us! I thought, ‘I need to start believing her now.’”
Recalling the heroic OAP’s remarkable recovery during the global pandemic, Marie said:
“They told me she’d be dead the next day. She gave me the biggest smile and the doctor said if that’s the last smile you ever see then it was a beautiful one.
“The next morning she was sat up eating Weetabix and drinking coffee and got over it. She is such a strong woman. She really is unbelievable. She means everything to me.
“She shocks us all and everybody loves her.”
Oak Park are treating Auntie Kitt to a birthday buffet lunch with fellow residents and family.
A spokesperson for the care home said: “We all love her. She is absolutely lovely. She is a wonderful person and she has got the biggest, most loveliest smile. Everyone loves her.”