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Briton to undergo sex change at 80

world Updated: May 01, 2012 00:03 IST

A nearly 80-year-old British grandpa is set to undergo a sex change operation that will make him the oldest person in the UK to have the procedure.

Ruth Rose, a former Royal Air Force (RAF) officer and a grandad of four said that he dreamed of becoming a woman from the age of nine. But it is only now, nearly 70 years on and after a successful flying career, that he plans to go ahead.

"It's gorgeous to be who I am at long last. My life has blossomed beyond all recognition since I made the decision," six-foot tall Ruth, of Newhaven, East Sussex was quoted by the Sun as saying.

Ruth, who earlier used to be called James is the father of three and will be 79 next month, decided to live fully as a woman in public two years ago.

Despite his age, doctors have scheduled the National Health Service operation for October next year, after he turns 80, at London's Charing Cross Hospital.

In the meantime, he is being treated with NHS-prescribed hormone therapy.

"I just want to get on with it. I'm old enough not to bother about sex, that's not my motive. The modern climate is one of understanding and tolerance so you don't have to pretend you are something you're not," Ruth said of the NHS operation.

He wed in 1961, had a son and two daughters, and later worked as engineer. But from the 1970s James began to spend more time as Ruth, dressing as a woman. "My wife found out, which was embarrassing, but from that point I was very open about it," he said. The couple divorced in 2003 after 42 years of marriage.