GMB opens show with naked man and live life drawing class
When a “flirty” great grandmother was served up a glass of bubbly on her 106th birthday by a naked butler her eyes rested not on his bare buttocks but on his “impressive” hairless chest.
Toasting staff at the Lincolnshire care home where she has been a resident since last year, Norah Shaw, who has lived through two world wars, two global pandemics, and 20 Prime Ministers admitted it was the first time she had ever seen a butler in the buff.
And Norah, of Tennyson Wharf Care Home in Lincoln was all smiles thanks to the superb service she received from Eddy Betteridge, 32, who wore nothing but an apron and a bowtie, saying: “I have had an absolutely wonderful day, it’s been marvellous all the way through.”
She added: “It was spontaneous, to say the least. Eddy was tall, had nice eyes and was very attractive. He had no hair on his chest at all, which impressed me. I had never seen anything like it. It’s been a grown-up birthday. It’s been a very special birthday. It’s not every day you turn 21 – and a little bit.”
Eddy, who works for the Butlers in the Buff agency, provided Norah with sandwiches, scones and fizz on Saturday August 6, as a 106th birthday present from her daughter Gill Shaw, 67, a retired parish clerk and solicitor, after she joked to care home staff that she wanted a “hunky man” on her big day.
A former full-time mum Norah, who was born in Manchester and lived independently until she moved to the East Midlands when she was 105, was joined by family members and fellow residents for the adult-rated afternoon tea.
A mum-of-three, with seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, she said of the scantily clad butler: “I was very shocked when he turned around because he had no underwear on. It was quite amusing.”
She added: “I had to keep checking, so I asked him to get some sandwiches. But it’s been the loveliest day and I hope everyone enjoyed my birthday as much as I did.”
Norah was so excited about her birthday that she woke at 5.30am, hours ahead of her fabulous feast for which the home’s chef had even made cupcakes in the shape of 106 and a chocolate birthday cake for Norah, who received more than 200 cards from people across the UK.
Reflecting on her long life, she said: “I can’t reveal the secret of how I lived so long or it won’t be a secret!” Born in Manchester on Aug 6, 1916, Norah’s parents owned a laundry and she often told her daughter Gill how she would wrap freshly laundered items in brown paper and string and take them to customers using a horse cart.
She was “bright, clever and independent” according to Gill, and got her first job aged 15 working for a textile department store. Gill said: “She’s a walking and talking history book. She has seen and been through everything. Cars can drive themselves now and no one had cars when she was born. So much has changed in her life and she has taken it all in her stride.”
Gill added: “My mum never remarried as she said she didn’t want to wash anyone else’s socks!” She added: “Growing up, she was very busy looking after us. Once we grew up, she enjoyed bridge and bowls. She loved knitting. She just loved being around people. And even today, she’s a bit fun and flirty. She’s a little bit cheeky, she’s got a twinkle in her eye and she’s always game for a laugh.”
Norah had “never been in hospital” until she was 95, when she had surgery at Warwick Hospital after being diagnosed with bowel cancer to remove her tumours – going on to make a full recovery. Even after she caught Covid earlier this year, she only had a “cough for a day.”
Gill said: “She is amazing and unique. She only uses soap and water but her skin has remained incredible – even at 106. My mum had never been in hospital until she was 95 when she had bowel cancer, and the only reason they said they would operate was because she walked herself to hospital.”
She added: “This year she has had Covid and had a cough for a day – that was it. All she’s on is water tablets, no other medication. She’s amazing. She’s healthier than me. She was the eldest of four and she outlived all her siblings by many, many years.”
Now Norah is living life to the full, thanks to the staff at her care home. Zoe Sheridon, activities coordinator, Christine Harding, activities assistant, and Sonia Fairhurst, General Manager at the care home, enlisted the help of Butlers in the Buff, who offered their services for free on the day to make Norah’s wishes come true.
They said: “We want people here to enjoy their lives. We want them to have the best time they can.”
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