Ulster nonagenarians enjoy tea party to mark monarch’s big day

Lydia Walton
Lydia Walton

She admits to being “a little older than the Queen” but youthful Lydia Walton believes they both have “a lot more to enjoy” of life.

Lydia Walton, 93, from Donaghadee, spoke to the News Letter as she attended a tea party in east Belfast for nonagenarians in celebration of Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday.

“I think it is very special and for me being invited to this tea party today,” Mrs Walton said. “It is lovely.

“It will be a very important day for the Queen - even though she is used to so many important occasions. She always looks so, so well.

“With the Royal family all around her, she will enjoy her day. And she does not look 90 at all, I think.”

Around 40 nonagenarians were special guests at the Mothers’ Union event - all members of MU branches around the diocese of Down and Dromore.

The event was hosted by the Bishop of Down and Dromore, Rt Revd Harold Miller and his wife in St Donard’s Parish Centre in east Belfast.

Bishop Harold Millar said: “I’m delighted today to be able to present all of the nonagenarian ladies at our tea party, and indeed a centenarian, with a copy of The Servant Queen – and the King She Serves, which was specially written for the Queen’s 90th birthday and celebrates her Christian faith, which I know is so important to the members of the Mothers’ Union.”

Mrs Walton, a great grandmother, said her first memories of the Queen were seeing her “playing with her sister Princess Margaret at Holyrood”.

“I had been living in Scotland and was brought up to a place overlooking Holyrood palace where I saw the Queen and Princess Margaret playing in the garden. At that time I was probably 12 and they were having fun.”

Adding she followed the Queen throughout her life, Mrs Walton said she did not believe “they get enough credit for what they do”.

And when asked what keeps her so youthful, Mrs Walton said: “I really don’t know. I think if you get out and about and mix with people that helps tremendously.

“Luckily, all my life I have had very, very good health and was able to get out and involved in different things.

“I have really enjoyed my life.

“My family are wonderful and are such a help to me too.”

Mrs Walton, whose husband died 12 years ago, said: “We travelled a lot as my husband was in the Army. I met him during the war when I was a wireless operator.

“We had a good life together and lived in Kenya for a few years.”