She was a schoolteacher from the age of 13, married at 63, and was widowed in 1980, when her husband was 103.
She continued to remain in excellent health into extreme old age, even getting to have tea with then-PM Margaret Thatcher, who she apparently liked.
On her 110th birthday party, she took a ride on Concorde, one of only two supercentenarian air passengers ever recorded. She also stayed at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel for four days on an all-expenses paid visit and met the mayor, Ed Koch. Hughes continued to live in her own home until 1991, when she finally moved into a nursing home in Redcar due to her growing frailty.
Despite spending her last years in a wheelchair, Hughes remained sharp until the end of her life.
Hughes died on 17 March 1993 at the age of 115 years, 228 days. She died just 4 days before 117-year-old Lucy Hannah, who was the oldest person in America and the third-oldest person on record.