Sidmouth pensioner lives in same house for 90 years

GREAT gran Betty Jago has lived in the same Temple Street house for 90 years – and says “not a lot” has changed in Sidmouth.

Newton Poppleford born birthday girl Betty reflected on nine decades in the town as she turned 90 on Saturday.

The longest the pensioner has spent away from Sidmouth was three years in London during World War Two when she was a telephonist attached to the artillery.

But it was war-time Sidmouth that saw her meet the love of her life -she met late husband Stanley when he was stationed in the town in 1945.

“I bumped into him in the dark in Church Street,” said Betty.

“It was love at first sight.”

The couple had one son, Brian, and Betty is now a proud grandmother of three and great grandmother of four.

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Betty’s father, William Pring, was the village blacksmith in Newton Poppleford when she was born in 1921.

Her three brothers, now in their 80s, Chris, Jim and Peter Pring, all have strong ties to the area and, like Betty, are still “fit as a fiddle”.

Chris, who now lives in Sidford, ran Sidbury Post Office, Jim ran MacFisheries in Market Place and Peter was in the RAC.

Betty was raised with her grandparents in Temple Street, where she still lives today.

“I’m proud to be from Sidmouth and glad to have lived here all this time,” she said.

“Not a lot has changed really, there are different shops and, of course, the brewery, where I worked, is gone. There is a lot more traffic and a lot more houses. We didn’t have supermarkets back then.”

Betty went to All Saints School, was employed at Fields, and ended up working in the office of the town’s former Devenish Brewery for 16 years.

In the late 1970’s, Betty was lucky to escape serious injury when a car mounted the curb opposite the Anchor Inn and hit her, and her aunt and uncle.

“I was hit by the bumper and carried onto the road. I broke my ankle and lost my knee cap,” said the 90-year-old.

She recalls an inferno that burnt the former Grand Cinema, in Blackmore Drive, to the ground in the 1950’s as one of her most dramatic town memories.

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