She's 101 – meet Britain's oldest green campaigner

Kathy Dimock was born in 1908, but she's doing her bit to meet the biggest challenge of the 21st century
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The Independent Online

At the age of 101, Kathy Dimock has lived through two world wars and too many prime ministers to remember. For most of her lifetime the phrases "global warming" and "climate change" had not been coined. But now she is Britain's oldest eco-warrior.

A secretary at the Foreign Office in London before marrying her husband Edward, a country GP, and bringing up five children, she spent most of her life giving little thought to the environment.

That all changed when the couple moved to Stroud, Gloucestershire, in her early nineties – her husband passed away soon afterwards. A lifelong Conservative voter before flirting with Labour in recent years, she had become disenchanted with the two parties over the Iraq war. It was a chance meeting with John Marjoram, lifelong environmental activist and former mayor of Stroud, that saw her become a member of the Green Party shortly before her hundredth birthday in March 2008.

"I have read their leaflets and like what they have to say. I think they are sensible, because it's about caring for the landscape and the environment," she said.

The Government warned on Thursday that Britain needs to prepare itself for a hotter future with greater extremes of flood and drought. Mrs Dimock confesses that she finds the environmental outlook "very alarming" and added: "If we act now and really do something we have a chance, but I think we're very late in finding out about it."

She is an avid recycler and proudly points out the energy-efficient light bulbs around her home. "I've grown my own vegetables for years," she added, chuckling: "It's a bit more difficult to do that now of course, with a walking stick in one hand."

Age has failed to dim her enthusiasm for life. "This is the friendliest place I've ever lived – everyone walks around with a smile on their face. Community is so important; people need to talk to each other," she said.

But her smile fades when she starts talking about the things that worry her, such as traffic. "It used to be just one car to a family and now it's two or three. I don't agree with that but I don't know how you're going to stop it. I think people have become very greedy and wasteful. We need to relearn how to make do with less, just like we did in the war, or we'll start to run out of things."