DERBYSHIRE’S oldest lady celebrates her 107th birthday today.
Ethel Bladdon donned her best frock to welcome Derbyshire Times Editor James Mitchinson to her Creswell home.
And true to form the sharp-witted centenarian had her company in tears of emotion and fits of laughter.
As she received her flowers from the Derbyshire Times team, Ethel told the gathering the key to longevity: “I think the reason I’ve grown so old is because I have always been nice to people,” she said.
“If you do right by people, they’ll look after you.”
Raising a tot of sherry in celebration of her remarkable milestone, she declared ‘cheers’!
With her glass in the air she added: “Good luck to you, whoever you are. Rich or poor, good luck to you.”
Sitting in the birthday girl’s chair, she shared a few of her memories with Mr Mitchinson.
“I’m from a family of nine, you know,” she said proudly. “We all looked after mother. You have to, don’t you? I remember when we were hungry as children, we used to have to wait for the cobs to cool on the window ledge. Not like that anymore, is it?”
Staff at the Autumn Grange Care Home said it was an honour to spend time with Ethel, but made an appeal.
“Because Ethel is very particular about the clothes she wears, we sometimes struggle to find anything suitable because she is so tiny. If there’s anyone out there who can help, we’d be very grateful, and so would Ethel,” said Carol Davies.
“She’s a real character, and we love having her around. We’re all just hoping she has a lovely day, and wish her many happy returns.”
James Mitchinson added: “Every now and then I’m reminded of how privileged I am to be a journalist in a small community. Meeting Ethel Bladdon was very humbling, and I hope we’ve been able to help make her 107th birthday one she’ll enjoy.”