Diss resident says she will keep going ‘as long as the Queen does’ as special day approaches
One is known as Lilibet, the other as Betty.
Both were born on April 21, 1926, and named Elizabeth.
One went on to become the Queen, while the other has spent her life helping others and is preparing to celebrate her 90th birthday with friends and family on Thursday.
Diss resident Elizabeth Garnham was born in Lewisham Hospital.
It was on the insistence of nurses that she would be called Elizabeth, following the arrival and naming of the Queen-to-be hours before. She grew up in south London.
Despite not having met the Queen — Betty has attended two of her garden parties — she said she is “full of admiration” for the monarch.
I don’t envy her being Queen but she has shown such devotion to her family and the hard work she has put in
“I think she is a marvellous person,” she said. “I have got the deepest respect and regard for her.
“I don’t envy her being Queen but she has shown such devotion to her family and the hard work she has put in.
“I’ve always said, as long as the Queen carried on, I would carry on. That’s how I feel.
“I remember the coronation of the Queen,” she continued. “I was living in Botesdale. We found out the parish council weren’t doing anything, so I got in touch with a group of local women, because I was an outsider really, and we went round all the houses and people offered to make sandwiches and cakes, and we had a do.”
Mrs Garnham said she loves the area and in particular has a soft spot for Wortham. She is chairman and treasurer of the Good Companions Club, was treasurer of the Causeway Club, and has been involved with the village football and cricket clubs.
She is founder chairman of the committee created to rebuild the village hall.
“I’ve really loved doing voluntary work,” she said. “I do like to help other people. I’ve always been that way and I’ve always wanted to help people.
“I’ve got family all around me, I’ve got lots of friends. I’m a very lucky person.”
She first moved to Botesdale on June 1, 1946 — the day she married husband John.
They ran the Dolphin Inn, Wortham, now The Manor House, although Mrs Garnham, who has two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, has never had a drop of beer in her life.
Mr Garnham built a house in the village once they left the pub, where son Alva now lives. She moved to Diss in 1974.