A Silsden woman is waiting to hear whether she is to be declared the oldest living person in Britain.

Nellie Bradley, who for the last 16 years has lived at the Gables nursing home, in Skipton Road, was born during the reign of Queen Victoria in 1889 and last September celebrated her 111th birthday.

Friends and family this week started the search for the documentation necessary for the Guinness Book of Records to confirm she is the oldest living person in the UK.

This week nursing home matron Christine Mallinson received a call from a researcher at the Guinness Book of Records who is keen to verify Mrs Bradley's record.

Mrs Mallinson says: "I don't know who it was who contacted them, but they need a birth certificate, a wedding certificate and some other form of proof of age."

She plans to write to Mrs Bradley's eldest son, John, to see if they can track down the paperwork.

Mrs Bradley was born in Frizinghall, Bradford, where she grew up with her two brothers and two sisters on the family farm and went to school in Casterton.

In 1914 Mrs Bradley married childhood friend James while he was serving as a vet with the artillery regiment in the First World War.

The couple, who moved to Shipley in the 1920s, where Mr Bradley set up his own veterinary practice, had four children -- John, Mary, James and Ralph -- all of whom are themselves over 70.

Mr Bradley died, aged 81, in 1966 and Mrs Bradley continued to live alone near Ilkley until she was 95, before moving into the Gables.

A spokesman from the Guinness Book of Records says: "She's potentially the oldest woman in the UK.

"There are four other women who are around 108, including one from Guiseley, but Nellie is in line to be declared the oldest," he adds.

While Mrs Bradley is still a way off the world record -- held by a 120-year-old South African woman -- she has less than a year to go to beat the world's oldest man who is 112.

The oldest person ever to have lived was French woman Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived to 122 years and 164 days and died in 1997.

The spokesman says: "It's in everyone's best interests to get this done as quickly as possible but in these cases it's not always as easy as that."

Mrs Bradley's youngest son, Ralph, 74, says he is certain there will be no trouble producing the necessary documents. He adds that his mother's side of the family has a history of longevity.

"All my mother's brothers and sisters reached well into their nineties -- none made 100, but pretty old nevertheless."