At 108 years young, Myrtle Edness says the key to a long life is to ‘swim and exercise’

Updated: Jul 21, 2022 12:41 PM

Myrtle Edness, who celebrated her 108th birthday over the weekend, with her daughter, Maureen Eddy, centre, and niece, former premier Dame Jennifer Smith. (Photograph supplied.)

Myrtle Edness with her daughter, Maureen Eddy, and great-granddaughter Alex Lymbery. (Photograph supplied.)

Myrtle Edness, who celebrated her 108th birthday on Sunday (Photograph supplied)

Myrtle Edness, who celebrated her 108th birthday on Sunday (Photograph supplied)

Myrtle Edness, who celebrated her 108th birthday on Sunday (Photograph supplied)

Myrtle Edness, who celebrated her 108th birthday on Sunday, has a simple tip for long life — swim and exercise.

Born on Ord Road before moving to Somerset as a little girl, Ms Edness (née Deshield) and her siblings, Lillian and Gerald Jr, attended Paget Glebe school when it cost one shilling and six pence to attend.

She married her childhood friend and neighbour, the late carpenter Arnold Edness, on September 25, 1944. Mr Edness built the family home on “Billy Goat Hill” — Tribe Road No 1 — in Warwick, where she still lives.

The couple also ran a grocery store, AJ Edness Grocery, for 29 years until she retired in 1978. Mr Edness died in 1977.

Ms Edness also worked at The Bermuda Recorder and often pedalled all the way to Somerset to collect money the paper was owed.

Mr and Ms Edness had two children, Maureen Eddy and the late Alan Edness. She now has three grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

Ms Eddy says that “honesty, perseverance and exercise” are the most important things that her mother has taught her.

Ms Edness was also very dedicated to her church and faith and served as an elder at Christ Church Warwick until her mid-80s and was a regular at the Sunday morning service right up until the pandemic.

Some historical events that have occurred during Ms Edness’s lifetime

June 28, 1919: The Treaty of Versailles was signed, putting an official end to First World War.

Autumn of 1929: the New York stock market crashes, starting the Great Depression.

September-October 1939: Poland is invaded by Nazi forces, leading to the beginning of the Second World War.

June 2, 1953: 27-year-old Elizabeth II is crowned monarch of the United Kingdom and remains on the throne to this day.

November 22, 1963: President of the United States John Fitzgerald Kennedy is assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.

August 8, 1974: President of the United States Richard Nixon officially resigns, becoming the first and to this day only United States president to do so.

November 9, 1998: The Progressive Labour Party wins its first general election in Bermuda after spending 30 years in Opposition. Dame Jennifer Smith, Ms Edness’s niece, led the party to victory and remained Premier and party leader for five years.

One of Ms Edness’s main loves throughout her life were swimming and the beach. She said she inherited this love from her father, Gerald Deshield Sr, who worked as a boat pilot. She used to go to Horseshoe Bay for a dip at 5.30am almost every weekday.

When asked what advice she could give to younger people about how to live as long as she had, Ms Edness simply said: “Swim and exercise.”

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