King proves a hit for birthday girl Nanny

A great-great grandmother had the ‘best night of her life’ after Elvis Presley wished her a truly happy 100th birthday.

Well-known Ann Balmbra, from Alnwick, became a centenarian on Monday, June 1, and she celebrated the milestone with a week-long trip to Blackpool with her friend.

Nanny Balmbra celebrates her 100th birthday.'Picture by Jane Coltman

Nanny Balmbra celebrates her 100th birthday.'Picture by Jane Coltman

And things got even more memorable for the lovable pensioner, known as Nanny, when she was all shook up by an Elvis impersonator during her stay on the Lancashire coast.

She said: “He got on his knees and he kissed and cuddled us and he held my hand up. He said nice to meet you and a very happy birthday.

“It was the best night I have ever had. It was absolutely great. The whole place was full and we didn’t go to bed until 12 o’clock.

“The birthday I had in Blackpool was unbelievable and it went on all week!

“My friend had ordered a birthday cake and when she offered to pay, the manager of the hotel where we were staying said ‘no. no you’re not paying’. He said ‘I am giving Nanny that cake for free’.”

Nanny, who lives in Tanners Garth, has 25 great-great grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and 10 grandchildren. She was also a mother to three.

She told the Gazette that it feels absolutely marvellous to reach 100. And she shared her secret to a long life.

“I put it down to good living and hard work,” she said, before adding: “I do all my own cooking, too. I don’t eat anything out of a tin, other than a tin of soup now and again.”

The sprightly pensioner has many memories, but says her earliest is a family boat trip to Ireland.

She remembered: “I was going across the sea to Ireland with my mother. My dad was across there.

“We lost my brother, but we eventually found him – he was sitting in a toilet with his head halfway down the pan. He couldn’t stand the journey. We just laughed on the boat and when we got to the other side we were telling my dad.

“He couldn’t help but laugh and he said ‘good job you found him’ and I said ‘it certainly was because we thought he was overboard’.”

Nanny is having a birthday party at Alnwick Working Men’s Club on Saturday and it is set to be a big bash.

She said: “The party has been organised for me. I was thinking about having a small party at the club, but I didn’t realise that there is going to be hundreds of people there, according to those who have said that they are coming.

“We are going to have a wonderful buffet and there will be a wonderful crowd of people there. I love them all.”