Chippy helps 92-year-old with birthday bucket list private dining
- Credit: Sarah Saunders
A Norfolk chippy have helped a family keep a birthday promise after a 92-year-old had the place to herself.
Betty Emmerson celebrated her 92nd birthday by fulfilling her wish of having a fish and chip restaurant close its doors and serve just her, with friends and family by her side.
Sarah Saunders, Betty's daughter, arranged for private dining at French's in Wells, her mum's favourite.
The family visited on March 6, with Betty's birthday on March 10.
Betty was born in Wells in 1930, and in 2011 she was awarded an MBE for her services to the community of Wells.
In 2014 dementia made it difficult for her to live alone and she came to live with Mrs Saunders and her husband Patrick in Fakenham.
Despite dementia, Betty has continued to enjoy some of her favourite things, including a trip to Carrow Road in 2019.
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Last year, when she lost most of her mobility the time came for her to move into residential care.
Mrs Saunders was lucky enough to be able to visit her mum almost every week where eventually all their chats turn to her beloved Wells and she always promised that one day soon she would take her back for a day out.
When asked her where they should go for fish and chips, Betty always gave her a wry smile before saying "Frenchs, of course".
Families from Cambridge, Leeds and Norwich gathered in Wells to make her bucket list dream come true.
“The team were incredible, they closed the restaurant to give us a safe and comfortable experience,” Mrs Saunders said.
"Joan from Dereham Taxis also has to be thanked for getting her there.
“To see mum enjoying fish and chips whilst looking out over the marshes was a very special moment, the smiles say it all.
"We didn't have champagne but that didn't stop mum from raising her coffee cup and toasting everyone."
Alana French, manager of French's, said that Mrs Saunders was her school teacher, and saw videos of the 92-year-old on Facebook during the first lockdown saying how she wanted to go back to Frenchs, and she was more than happy to help.
“She did a lot of charity work so it's nice to help her celebrate and it is a really nice feeling to help her tick this off her bucket list.”