Corby woman celebrates 100th birthday today - but she might actually be older

A Corby woman celebrating a special milestone today with family and friends has discovered it might be on a completely different day - and month.

Friday, 8th November 2019, 3:15 pm
Updated Friday, 8th November 2019, 3:26 pm
Ruza Banovic - 100 years old today

Ruza Banovic moved to Corby from Serbia when she was 37 but it wasn't until her family were preparing for her 100th birthday party that they found her documents showing a different birth date.

Daughter Dragana Bolton said: "We discovered it about a month ago when we were applying for a card from the Queen. I was having a rummage to look for some photos when I found her old Serbian passport.

"The birth date said October 23, but when you ask her she says her birthday is November 8.

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Ruza with her cards and presents

"I asked my cousin who still lives there to go to the church where her records are kept and that also said October 23. Her granny was the same - two different dates. We're taking it as today."

Ruza was born in Kavadar in the former Yugoslavia in 1919. She married her husband Simo in May 1939 and had two children - a son Zoran in 1940 and a daughter Zorica in 1942.

However, in the aftermath of the Second World War, the family were split when Simo came, in 1947, as a displaced person to work at Brigstock Camp near Corby as a chef.

It wasn't for another eight years that Ruza was reunited with her husband in London after travelling over 1,300 miles across Europe on a train.

Ruza with her special birthday balloon

She said: "He was waiting for me at the Victoria station. He kissed me and gave me a cuddle. It was very good to be in the country. I liked it very much. We first lived with another family in Corby then we moved to Landseer Court."

It was not long after that their daughter Dragana was born in 1957.

Ruza worked as a machinist in factories around Corby whilst her husband worked at the steel works.

Heavily involved in the Serbian community and a regular member of Corby's Serbian Church, they retired in 1968 spending all their spare time on their allotment and travelling the UK taking part in Yugoslavian cultural events including folk dances.

Ruza's three children all still live in Corby. She has eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Dragana puts her mum's longevity to the fact she has been so active all he life, often walking to Cottingham to look after her grandchildren, keeping busy in her garden and that she has never smoked.

She will be celebrating at home with family and friends.

Ruza added: "I've got a lovely family and they're very good. I keep going forever."