Westward Ho’s Betty celebrates her 100th birthday

Centenarian Margaret 'Betty' Johns pictured with just a few of her 19 great great grandchildren. Picture: Tony Gussin
Centenarian Margaret 'Betty' Johns pictured with just a few of her 19 great great grandchildren. Picture: Tony Gussin

A true North Devonian, Margaret ‘Betty’ Johns was joined by her large family to celebrate a happy century

A Westward Ho! woman who describes herself as a ‘jack of all trades’ has celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by her huge family.

Margaret Johns, known to everyone as ‘Betty’, enjoyed a party at The Royal Hotel with most of her six children, 14 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren, some of whom had flown from Australia and travelled from France to attend.

North Devon born and bred, Betty was born at Brownsham near Hartland and spent much of her life working on farms, including in the Women’s Land Army during World War Two and she was also an auxiliary nurse for 13 years.

She also helped to look after evacuees during the war and many of those stayed in touch throughout her life – including one who came to her 100th birthday party.

She married her late husband Stanley in 1942 and the couple farmed at Parkham, Ashreigney and Prixford before retiring to Westward Ho! in 1998.

Betty also worked for the Rous family and knew Clovelly estate owner John Rous for most of his life – in fact, he came to her party too.

Betty said she had such a good family: “The party was absolutely lovely, just what I wanted, because I wanted all the children to be able to know each other and they don’t see each other very often.

I don’t know why I have lived so long, but I had a sister who lived until 93 and a brother until 92. I had a marvellous mother and she always made sure we had everything.

“I am so grateful I am like I am when there’s so many poor people suffering much worse than me. I can still look after myself, though I have a carer in the mornings.

“I have been to Australia three times and the last time I went I was 93, but I could still go now if I had to.”

Betty turned 100 on Tuesday, January 9 and still lives in her own home.

She also received her telegram from the Queen – delivered by her nephew the postman.

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