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Birthday treat takes Peggy back to her appearance on Blind Date

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: February 06, 2013

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A "FLIRTY" pensioner from St Ives spent her 100th birthday with pals watching a long-lost tape of her appearing on Nineties' dating show Blind Date.

Peggy Owen was tricked by a friend into attending auditions for the prime-time programme, hosted by Cilla Black, back in 1992, when she was 79 years old.

But she proved such a hit with producers that she was picked as one of the three contestants who had to dazzle that week's singleton from behind the sliding screen.

Last Monday, the centenarian who lived in Newquay, relived the moment when she was chosen to go on an all-expenses paid trip to North Yorkshire.

Niece Lulu O'Sullivan told The Cornishman: "At the time she was quite disappointed because she wanted to go abroad. They ended up going to Chatsworth and the Thornton-le-Dale chocolate factory. It was hardly the Caribbean."

She said her aunty had recently developed dementia but still clearly recognised herself on television.

One of her friends had dug out an old VHS tape with a recording of the show that they showed at Trewartha House care home in St Ives, where Peggy now lives.

"We all had cake and there were lots of her old friends there," said Mrs O'Sullivan. "She really enjoyed it.

"At the last count there were 71 cards. She was a very popular lady when she was in Newquay. She was, and still is, very glam, loves being made up and having her hair and nails done, and she has a wonderful sense of humour."

Born in London, Peggy came to Newquay in the 1930s and spent the war years in a house on Henver Road.

She spent time in Malta and Cyprus, as her husband Paddy was in the RAF, before the pair decided to run The Gables Guest House on Edgcumbe Gardens in the 1960s. Sadly Paddy died in 1966, but Peggy continued to run the business.

Mrs O'Sullivan said her aunty loved dogs, and bred Golden Retrievers for more than 30 years. She even won several classes at Crufts.

A keen golfer and member of Newquay Golf Club until well into her nineties, Peggy also loved the outdoors and a good walk.

"If you asked what the secret to her long life was she would probably say drink and men," said Mrs O'Sullivan. "She used to be a terrible flirt. Even now sometimes when the young lads come in she tries to woo them.

"She's always liked a drink too and loves her champagne. She walked a lot, had an almost totally vegetarian diet and never had children either. I think all of that helped."

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  • josdave  |  February 06 2013, 8:28AM

    If I had been daft enough to appear on that trashy "reality" show I would want to forget it.

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