Fri. Aug 12th, 2022

In the Detling and Thurnham ward, near Maidstone, women have an average life expectancy of 95, 12 years more than the national average of 83.

The village has the largest life expectancy in England and banned indoor smoking five years before the national ban was enforced in 2007.

On the slope of the North Downs, along the historic pilgrimage route, lies the village of Detling with a population of 800 people.

Ivy Watson celebrates her 100th birthday in her nursing home, Barty House Nursing Home in Kent

Ivy Watson celebrates her 100th birthday in her nursing home, Barty House Nursing Home in Kent

Among the 800 residents are some of the oldest people in the country, including Irene Nobbs, who turned 102 in April.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there are 15,000 centenarians in the UK, and two of them reside at the Barty House nursing home in Detling.

Irene, a retired hairdresser, told the Times that a good and busy life is the secret behind her life plus ‘a glass of rosé every night before bed’.

General practitioners in Detling have eight doctors or one doctor per.  100 inhabitants and accept face to face in a time when it is difficult to get personal consultations

General practitioners in Detling have eight doctors or one doctor per. 100 inhabitants and accept face to face in a time when it is difficult to get personal consultations

There are many theories floating around as to why life expectancy is so high in Detling, ranging from the quality of the tap water to the hilly terrain.

One resident, Margaret Cooke, 89, believes the covered reservoir near the village may be a contributing cause.

It’s only a few hundred yards away, and ‘it’s filtered through all the chalk,’ she told the Times.

It is not only Detling’s proximity to fresh water that the village has to its advantage.

The local GP has eight doctors, or one doctor per. 100 inhabitants, and accept face to face in a time when it is difficult to get personal consultations.

Health has always been at the forefront of the village agenda, Detling banning indoor smoking in pubs and workplaces five years before the national ban was enforced.

Detling (pictured) in Kent has the largest life expectancy in England and banned indoor smoking five years before the national ban was enforced in 2007

Detling (pictured) in Kent has the largest life expectancy in England and banned indoor smoking five years before the national ban was enforced in 2007

To gain a better understanding of why life expectancy is so high in Detling, it is worth looking at areas of low life expectancy.

Bloomfield in Blackpool, for example, has an average life expectancy of 73 for women and only 67 for men.

This means that people from Detling can expect to live for two decades more than those living in Bloomfield.

The coastal town has long been at the foot of most life expectancy, with many people pointing to Blackpool’s financial difficulties as a possible cause.

A 2013 Guardian profile showed that over half of Bloomfield’s population smokes, including one in three pregnant women.

The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment Blackpool (JSNA) found that 20% of deaths in women were caused by respiratory diseases in the most disadvantaged areas of Blackpool between 2015-17.

According to Veena Raleigh, a senior fellow at King’s Health Care Think Tank, Detling, though not very wealthy, has low deprivation.

She told the Times: ‘Very often, people living in disadvantaged areas will have a cluster of unfavorable risk factors that weigh their health, such as obesity, smoking and poverty.’

The solution, however, is not to pack your bags and move to Detling in search of a longer life.

Raleigh says: ‘That’s not how it works. It has more to do with the people themselves and their stories and habits. ‘

Detling has a very strong community spirit, which was really expressed during the pandemic, the local council organized visits for residents struggling with their mental health, and neighbors enjoyed the competition for daily exercise routines.

With the worst pandemic hopefully behind us, Detling’s people, young and old, have been able to enjoy the many facilities the village has to offer.

As for Irene, she has been aiming for her 103rd birthday, where she hopes everyone will join in and sing the tunes from the late great Vera Lynn.

.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.