Lutterworth pensioner asks people to donate money to the homeless rather than giving her presents on her 100th birthday

A Lutterworth woman is celebrating her 100th birthday by raising cash to support young homeless people in Leicestershire.

Monday, 27th January 2020, 4:07 pm
Updated Monday, 27th January 2020, 4:08 pm
Betty Bode

Selfless Betty Bode will smash through the century barrier on Monday February 10.

And she’s marking hitting the ton by raking in several hundred pounds for The Y, the county’s leading youth homelessness charity.

Betty told the Harborough Mail: “I’d far rather my family and friends donate cash to the charity than buy me presents and gifts I don’t need.

Betty Bode on her wedding day.

“I’m very pleased by how much we’ve raised already for this excellent cause.

“And what would I do with a cupboard full of chocolates?!”

The centenarian-to-be said she was thrilled to have already raked in £444.

“So many generous people have got behind us – it’s brilliant.

Betty Bode on her wedding day.

“We have to do what ever we can to help young people right here in Leicestershire who are struggling,” said Betty, whose beloved South African husband Armin died in 1996.

Born way back in February 1920 just 15 months after the Great War ended, the great-great-grandmother also shared her secret for powering through into the 21st century.

“I do love a glass of ginger wine and a little brandy at about 5pm every day.

“I do recommend it,” smiled Betty, who lives in sheltered accommodation at St Mary’s House in Church Close, Lutterworth.

Betty Bode with her daughter Jane Walker

“But don’t over do it – just have the one glass and you’ll be fine!”

She’s counting the days until her family throws a huge party for her on Saturday February 8.

Her oldest son Jim, 76, is flying in from Tasmania for the big bash, expected to attract more than 60 loved ones from all over the world.

“It will be a magical family occasion and I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone.

Betty Bode on her wedding day.

“I’ve had an interesting life, I’ve had some great people around me and I’ve been very lucky,” insisted Betty, who still plays bridge with her friends every Friday afternoon.

Her daughter Jane Walker, 64, of Yelvertoft, Northants, said: “We’re all very proud of our mum.

“She’s still very capable of bossing us all around – even nigh on 100!

“But mum’s always taken everything in her stride and got on with it.

“And she’s always loved helping others all the way through her life.”

The mum-of-two said Betty married Armin in 1939 at the outbreak of the Second World War when she was 19.

“My dad didn’t fight in the war because he was an electrical engineer, a reserved occupation.

“They were living in Stafford before moving to London just as the Blitz struck,” said Jane, who’s also got a brother Adrian, 75.

“Mum helped out at the Red Cross post while dad was a volunteer fire watcher so they both did what they could.

“My parents moved to Johannesburg in 1945 before returning to the UK in 1960 for dad’s job.

“We then went out to live in Gijon in Spain before finally coming back to stay in Swinford, near Rugby.”

She said Betty has seven grandchildren as well as nine great-grandchildren.

“They all revere her.

“Mum’s the real matriarch and head of our family,” laughed Jane.

“She’s loved her sewing, caravanning and travelling over the years and I can’t imagine anyone’s got a bad word to say about her.”

She said she worked alongside Betty to find a charity she could support for her landmark 100th.

“We did our research and were keen to support a local Leicestershire charity.

“We were both impressed with the fantastic work the Y charity does with homeless young people,” said Jane.

“I set a target of £250.

“We’ve already smashed through that so it’s been a massive success and we are thrilled.”

If you would like to chip in and support brilliant Betty’s 100th birthday charity crusade then please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/betty-bode