TRIBUTES have been paid to a former nurse who has died aged 105 just weeks shy of her 106th birthday.

Ida Harris was born February 15 1914 and died last Wednesday.

She was born to parents Frank and Mary Hannah Hawcock and had two older siblings - Neva and Cyril.

During the Second World War, she trained as a nurse and worked as a health visitor in schools from 1948 until she retired in 1974.

“She got into nursing quite late because she started training at 22 and the usual age was around 18,” said Ida’s cousin, Harold Scurr, 93. “But she worked all over, in Bradford and then in Barnsley and she remembers going on a midwife call and riding her bicycle there.”

In 1955, when Ida was 41, she married Bertran ‘Bert’ Harris at St George’s Church on Pitt Street.

She became a widow only 12 years later when Bert died suddenly of a heart attack. The couple had no children.

Ida’s former neighbour and carer, Frances Newton, 59, said: “She said to me once that after Bert died she could have fallen into a hole of being sad all the time, but she decided to pick herself up and carry on with her life.

“She never remarried or had any children but she lived a full and busy life which I think helped her into her old age.”

Ida would go ballroom dancing three times per week, a hobby which she continued until her 100th birthday, and she was also a keen walker and would go to St John’s Church, Staincross, every Sunday.

“She said for her 105th birthday that all she wanted was to dance with a man so we obliged and she had a great time dancing with everyone,” added Harold. “Even at her age she would still get up and dance.”

Frances added: “She loved being the centre of attention, so for every birthday she had she had a little party and I would do her hair for her and she loved it.

“She always said that her secret to a long life was a glass of Harveys Bristol Cream sherry every night, walking and keeping going, and a life without men.”

Harold mentioned how Ida loved receiving cards from the Queen and was looking forward to receiving another for her 106th birthday.

“She loved the attention, she really did,” said Harold. “She would look forward to her birthday to get a card from the Queen and was looking forward to getting another one. But she lived a full life and was always happy.”

n Ida’s funeral will take place at St John’s Church Staincross on February 11 at 11am.