Former England seamer Eileen Ash has died, two months after celebrating her 110th birthday.
Ash, who was born in Islington and made her Test debut against Australia in 1937, went on to represent her country seven times – either side of the Second World War before retiring in 1949.
In domestic cricket, she represented Civil Service Women, Middlesex Women and South Women. To commemorate the 80th anniversary of her international debut, Ash rang the five-minute bell at Lord's ahead of the Women's World Cup final in 2017.
Two years later, Ash had a portrait unveiled at the same ground, where she was also awarded lifelong honorary membership.
Away from the game, she was seconded to MI6 during the war, while she still played golf until the age of 98. In 2015, she led England captain Heather Knight in a yoga session as part of a short film recorded to celebrate her 105th birthday.
Clare Connor, ECB 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.
🎂 Happy Birthday to the oldest living international cricketer Eileen Ash, who turns 110 today.
"Heather and I went to visit Eileen about six months before the 2017 ICC Women's World Cup – she was 105 at the time – and it was one of the most remarkable experiences. Eileen taught Heather yoga, we played snooker, we drank cups of tea and we leafed through newspapers and scrapbooks celebrating Eileen's time as a player in the 1930s and 1940s.
"She regaled us with some amazing stories, including how she came to have her bat signed by Sir Donald Bradman at a French restaurant in Sydney in 1949! I know neither of us will ever forget that day, it was so special.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Eileen's family as they come to terms with losing such a wonderful woman and the end of an astonishing life."
In recent years, she had passed her driving test and, a year later, flew in a Tiger Moth, aged 106.
Only a month ago, she told Castlemeadow Care: "I've been so lucky in my life and done some lovely things. It's absolutely amazing.
"I've been very close to my family and have been very lucky to have been healthy for so long."
Asked whether she had a secret for her long life, she said: "Being happy and smiling a lot, red wine, and keeping fit with yoga."
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