Wroxham & Coltishall

A little tipple keeps Myrtle going

Just Regional
Jun 7, 2024 2 mins read

Myrtle Payne revealed the secret of her long life when she celebrated her 100th birthday at a Wroxham care home.

Five generations marked the occasion and Myrtle, who lives at Heron Lodge, was asked how she had stayed so spry.

“Enjoying family and friends but not forgetting two glasses of brandy and lemonade every night for the past 40 years!” she told her guests.

Following a Facebook appeal, the retired pub landlady received more than 250 birthday cards as well as cards and a scarf from her favourite football team, Liverpool, and a signed shirt with her name on from Norwich City.

Heron Lodge manager Alison Lawrence said: “Sunday was a very busy day with all Myrtle’s family and friends attending. We had a wonderful party with two singers attending in the afternoon.”

Myrtle, who has 15 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren, was born in Erpingham on May 19, 1924 – the second daughter of Edward and Mabel Bishop.

She went to Erpingham Primary School and recalls being known as the teacher’s pet, often getting called out in class to run errands such as posting mail.

Leaving school at 14, her first job was working as a telephonist at Hanworth Post Office and she also worked at Marconi, making televisions.

After war broke out she worked in the Land Army but recalls she was never allowed to drive a tractor. In recent years she was thrilled to receive a medal and certificate from then-prime minister Gordon Brown in recognition of her Land Army work.

She met her late husband, Arthur, in the Black Boys pub in Aldborough, and recalls that, coming from a strict home, she was not allowed to smoke or get married until she was 21.

After getting married, they initially lived in Hanworth with Arthur’s family and went on to have five children: Eddie, Alan (deceased), Sandra, Robin and Sharon.

The family moved into the King’s Head, Erpingham, where Myrtle became the landlady while Arthur worked on a farm.

After her husband retired, they moved to Cromer, where Myrtle lived until last year, when she moved to Heron Lodge.

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