Nothing will stop this Portsmouth 90-year-old celebrating her special birthday

On her 90th birthday, June Mary Bettesworth will not let a pandemic get in the way of a fashionable celebration.

Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 4:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 4:17 pm
June Bettesworth celebrates her 90th birthday. Picture: Reginald Pursey

Although it’s not the afternoon at the Ritz in London which was planned, June is still going to be a picture of glamour as she is chauffeured around her home city of Portsmouth – which she is most proud of – in a silver Bentley, topped off with a cream tea, to mark her special birthday.

Born on June 16, 1930, in St Mary’s Road, Fratton, June, née Wayman, attended George Street School in Buckland. During the Second World War, she was not evacuated and trained as a hairdresser apprentice in 1944.

As one of the few remaining of a generation that witnessed the Second World War first hand, June recalls some incredible stories. From cycling across St Mary’s Bridge as doodlebugs started overhead and racing to get to the air raid shelter in the back garden, to Fifth Street being bombed and flattened and the community grave in Kingston cemetery being only yards away from her own house.

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June and Stan Bettesworth when they were courting prior to their wedding in 1950.

June’s son, John, says: ‘She has a copy of the original Portsmouth at War, Smitten City which she showed us on the recent VE Day celebrations.’ Soon after she met Stanley Bettesworth, June married him during the summer of 1950 and went on to have two children, Deborah and John, years later.

While raising her family, June started working at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, in April 1970 and continued to work at the physiotherapy deptartment until her retirement in 1991. After Stanley had a stroke in 1993, June became his carer until he died in 2003 after 53 years of marriage.

But she doesn’t let much get in the way of her working. June volunteered to work at QA every Wednesday until recently when the pandemic struck. She smiles and says: ‘I am ready to return as soon as it is safe to do so.’

Throughout her life, she has been no stranger to appearing in The News, dating back to the 1950s with hairdressing competitions, netball matches and on her 50th wedding anniversary.

June Bettesworth at her surprise 80th party with family and friends 10 years ago.

She also appeared on the Generation Game dancing with Bruce Forsyth.

‘June has led a full and varied life and is full of wonderful stories of Portsmouth past.

‘She is very proud to call Portsmouth home,’ adds her son, John.

June holding a certificate for her recognition of her volunteer work at PHT QA Hospital.