Hughes grew up in Middlesbrough in Yorkshire, where her father ran a music shop. She worked as a teacher in a religious school from the age of 13 and married Noel Hughes, a retired army captain, after she retired at age 63. She was married until her husband died in 1979 at the age of 88. Hughes was the third undisputed person in history to reach age 115, after Jeanne Calment and Lucy Hannah.
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