Village's street party salute to 100-year-old Alison
Alison Searle put the great in Great Eccleston as she turned 100 – and even her favourite TV dancer joined in the celebrations.
Neighbours and friends stepped out for a street party to celebrate the big occasion and among those paying tribute to Alison was dancer Anton Du Beke (inset), who has graced TV’s Strictly Come Dancing since it began and has consequently become a familiar face at the programme’s annual broadcast from Blackpool Tower Ballroom.
Sue McManus, an organiser of Alison’s birthday party, said: “Alison loves watching Strictly and is a big fan of Anton Du Beke in particular.
“I got in touch with his management and he sent a personal video message wishing her happy birthday.
“She watched it on my phone with some speakers attached and she was absolutely thrilled.
“Everyone was delighted to have the chance to turn out and salute a very special lady,
“She said it was her best birthday ever – which is not bad considering she has now had 100 of them.”
Alison, who sported a sparkling tiara for her big day, has lived in the village for 16 years and is originally from Bolton.
She worked as a hairdresser and a model and was also a dancer herself.
She was married to Phil for 64 years until his death in 2004 and her grandson Philip Searle, who joined Great Eccleston residents for the party, is a manager in the NHS.
“Alison is a lovely, proudly independent lady of whom we are all very fond and it was an honour to join her to celebrate such a special landmark,” added Sue.
“She was queen for a day and we are so grateful to everyone who helped make it so special by donating food and entertainment, all for free, including Guy and Leslea from Grub Shack in Hambleton, Debbie, Karen and Beryl from Bell Farm and Ian Dyson.
“Everyone had a great time, especially the birthday girl herself.”