Sudbury: Double celebration for 92-year-old Scout leader and choristor Olive Bettison
PUBLISHED: 15:18 28 April 2014
Nobody could ever accuse Olive Bettison of being a quitter. The 92-year-old from Long Melford has just celebrated two significant milestones.
First she raised a glass of bubbly with fellow choristers at Cavendish church last week after completing an amazing 60 years singing in the church choir.
Then on Sunday, the former accounts clerk who also played a significant role during the Second World War, was given an award for dedicating 50 years of voluntary service to the Scouting movement in the Sudbury district.
After an hour of hymn singing at the weekly service in Cavendish, Olive swapped her church robes for a Scout uniform and headed straight to the annual St George’s Day parade at Long Melford Church yesterday afternoon where she received her certificate surrounded by around 600 Scouts, Cubs, Beavers, Guides and Brownies.
Starting as a Cub Scout leader in 1964, she held many different roles in the movement. In recent years, she has served on the executive board of the district’s Scout Active Support (SAS) unit.
Olive said: “I tell people I’m a member of the SAS and they laugh but I wouldn’t mind having a go.
“During the War, I was in the RAF and I worked as a barrage balloon operator. The balloons were used to make it harder for enemy aircraft to drop bombs on targets. It was a risky job.”
Although she lives in Melford now, Olive – one of 13 children – was born in Cavendish, and hence her affiliation with the local church.
She is picked up from her home by fellow choir members every Sunday without fail so she never misses a service – and she has no intention of hanging up her hymn book yet.
She said: “I love music but I don’t play an instrument so I sing instead.
“I have always sung soprano – most people seem to think I still have the voice and I really enjoy it so I’ll keep going for as long as I can.”
Of her recent achievements, she added: “It’s lovely to be recognised for what I’ve done. The choir opened a bottle of champagne after the service last week which was nice and to get the certificate from the Scouts was the icing on the cake.”