Traumatic final journey of Rainham grandmother Violet, 105

PUBLISHED: 09:00 27 October 2012

Violet Watts, from  Rainham, on her 105th birthday

Violet Watts, from Rainham, on her 105th birthday


One of Havering’s oldest residents has died in hospital aged 105 but the last week of Violet Watts’ life was traumatic.

Violet Watts - beloved wife, mum, grandmother

- Born in 1907, the only child of a farm labourer and a housewife.

- The family lived in Blewitts Cottages, New Road, Rainham.

- Violet attended Whybridge School in Blacksmiths Lane, Rainham, until she left school at the age of 13 to work in a factory in Purfleet.

- In 1929, Violet married the love of her life, William Watts, at St Helen and St Giles’ Church in Rainham. The couple had one child, Stella.

- The couple lived in Melville Road before moving to Wennington. In 1940, they moved to Eastwood Drive, Rainham.

- In 1969, William died.

- In 2008, Violet went through the pain of losing Stella.

- March 18 2012, Violet celebrates her 105 birthday. She says her secret is putting plenty of salt in her diet and a teaspoon of whisky in her tea.

A heavy metal oxygen regulator struck the 105-year-old on the head after it fell from a shelf during a journey from Durham House Care Home, in Upminster, to Queen’s Hospital, last Thursday (October 18).

The grandmother died on Wednesday (October 24) from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Her granddaughter Lyn Yates alleged: “What happened in the ambulance didn’t kill her. But it put added stress on her and caused added complications. She just could not go on fighting anymore.”

Violet had only moved into the care home in Harwood Hall Lane a month ago from her home in Rainham.

She was lying on a stretcher in the ambulance, being given oxygen, when the incident happened.

The life-long Rainham resident was being taken to visit an orthopaedic consultant because her leg was in a cast from an earlier injury.

She was running late after a first ambulance – a hospital outpatient service run by G4S – couldn’t accommodate her stretcher. After the accident in the second vehicle – also run by G4S – she was taken to the hospital’s A&E department.

She later developed pneumonia and other complications – but relatives believed she was improving.

The family want G4S to launch an urgent investigation into what happened.

A G4S spokesman said: “We would like to pass on our sincere condolences to the family of Violet Watts for their loss. We take the health and welfare of people in our care extremely seriously and will, of course, co-operate fully with any investigation necessary. At this stage, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.”

Violet’s funeral will take place at South Essex Crematorium, in Ockendon Road, Upminster, on November 2 from 12.40pm.

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