FEASTING on a gourmet dinner and lapping up champagne, these three sisters treated themselves to a ‘trip of a lifetime’ on the Orient Express.
Muriel Maddison, 92, Audrey Smith, 93, and Violet Hughes, 94, arranged to travel on the luxury train – beginning the five-hour trip from Chichester – as part of a birthday treat.
Violet, of Chatsworth Avenue, Cosham, celebrates her birthday in September, Audrey, of Westbourne Avenue, Emsworth, has her birthday in October, while Muriel, of Fairfield Road, Havant, marks hers in November.
Muriel explained: ‘We are all in our 90s. We all have a birthday coming up in September, October and November.
‘We thought it would be a nice way to celebrate.
‘I thought it would be a nice thing to do.
‘None of us want to go abroad – we have done all our holidays.
‘We just wanted a lovely day we could all remember.
‘We have always wanted to go on the Orient Express. It’s something special.’
Amazingly, the last time the three sisters went on a train together was more than 80 years ago when they travelled on The Flying Scotsman with their father, who was in the army.
Each sister remains independent in their own homes and the trio meet every week for lunch and a natter.
Muriel added: ‘We have all reached our 90s and I think it’s quite an achievement.’
Their faces beamed with excitement as they boarded the train last Friday.
The British Pullman carriages of the Venice Simplon-Orient Express originally ran on legendary 1920s services, such as The Brighton Belle and Golden Arrow.
After the ride, Violet said: ‘It was absolutely wonderful. We loved it!
‘We were very well looked after.
‘We all had enough food and drink.
‘We had a five-course meal, champagne and wine. We went all over the place, Fareham, Romsey, Salisbury.
‘It’s a big circular route. It was the trip of a lifetime.’
Waiting to greet the sisters was Audrey’s son David Smith, 68, from Emsworth.
He said: ‘It’s great. They have always wanted to do something like this.
‘This will probably be the last time they will be able to do something like this because they are all a year older in a couple of months time.
‘They all had big smiles when they got off the train.’
Muriel, whose husband Jim was killed during the Second World War at the Battle of Salerno, added: ‘It’s something we shall remember with great happiness.’