Val Savage inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore’s good values and fun-filled life at 100


Here, Val talks about her feelings on Captain Sir Tom receiving a knighthood and Princess Beatrice’s wedding.

Watching Captain Sir Tom Moore receive his knighthood from the Queen made me cry with pride and happiness.

He symbolises so many good values. And he proves that life can take fun and exciting turns even at the age of 100.

Of course, I’m nowhere near the same league as Captain Tom.

But sometimes I would love to say to Colin in heaven: “You’ll never guess what I‘m up to now.”

He wouldn’t have believed I’d have a slot on the radio predicting football scores and a Daily Mirror column.

I hope he would look down and smile.

Didn’t Princess Beatrice look beautiful when she got married in one of the Queen’s dresses?

Wearing something with a story and a connection means so much more than any fancy designer creation.

It’s stitched with family history and wearing it is a touching tribute.

When I married Colin in 1970, I wore an oyster-coloured mini dress and a big floppy hat, so even if I still had my outfit I doubt my granddaughter would want to wear it.

I don’t have any of Mum’s clothes but treasure her eternity ring.

I love opening the little trinket box to see and touch it. It doesn’t matter that there’s a stone missing.

Just holding it in my hand transports me back to the day we went to town to buy it. Mum had always wanted an eternity ring and Dad had a fair bit of overtime at the steel works.

Seeing her ring makes me feel Mum’s delight that day we bought it.

At the start of lockdown I decided to give my engagement ring to my granddaughter Caitlin. I couldn’t get it on my finger and, maybe because so many people were being taken by coronavirus, I realised life was short and it was time to pass on a few precious things. Caitlin smiled and didn’t know what to say when I gave it to her.

I’m sad to say I can’t remember how Colin proposed. But I recall all too clearly the sick feeling when I was newly engaged and realised I’d left my ring in a restaurant toilet.

I’d taken it off to wash my hands because I’d wanted to protect it from the soap. We were halfway home when I looked at my hand and screamed: “My ring!” Colin did a sharp U-turn and, thankfully, an honest person had found my ring and handed it in.

It isn’t as swish or bling as the engagement rings I see many of the young ones have today, because money was hard to come by in the 60s.

But the ring signifies a long and happy marriage full of laughs and love.

It means even more to me now to know I’ve passed it on. Isn’t that what life’s all about?

I need two new hips and two new knees because my arthritis is bad, but it’s also affecting my elbows now.

I doubt I’ll put myself through the operation unless doctors could give me an entire body transplant and I could be the Bionic Woman – or a body to die for and I could be Wonder Woman. It’s the fuss about medical procedures I don’t like. But I never mind being in hospital because I love making friends on the ward.

When I was admitted a few years ago with bleeding ulcers, the ward felt a bit miserable so I decided we needed to play games to brighten everyone up.

We started playing charades, or Give Us a Clue as I call it, and I asked a doctor to give me the name of a film I could act out.

He gave me the Shawshank Redemption and it was so difficult, I nearly hit him with his stethoscope.

My next film was Chariots of Fire. I whirled around the beds, as if they were race tracks, miming blowing fire out of my cheeks. The nurses said they were glad the consultant wasn’t on his rounds or he’d have a fit. We had such a giggle I was a bit sad to go home.

I was delighted to see Leeds get promoted – and so was my neighbour who hoisted up a big Leeds flag in a garden like a true blue.

And I was also happy to see Liverpool win the Premier League because I love Jurgen Klopp.

But there is one question that I’m dying to ask him: Are your teeth your own?

I’m making my last football score predictions in my competition against Robbie today.

Last year I was way out in the lead, but he was like a racehorse who came up on the rails and pipped me.

This year I’m even farther ahead, so Robbie is a donkey and I’m a thoroughbred. Robbie has never liked to be beaten. As a child my mum took him and Jonathan for a caravan holiday in Prestatyn.

They were playing snakes and ladders and Robbie was at the top of the board and needed to throw a four to win. But he shook a two on the dice, landed on a snake and slid almost back to the bottom.

He up-ended the board and threw everything in the air so Mum ended up on her hands and knees picking up the counters, dice and board. One thing’s for sure: if I beat him with my football predictions, it won’t be because he let me win.

I loved watching Anthony and Cleopatra this week, followed by a documentary about Hollywood couples featuring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

I swooned not just at Richard’s eyes, which were like pools of crystal-clear water, but at the sound of his voice.

The way he said “Elizabeth” made me go “ooh”. I could just imagine him saying “Valerie”.

Another Welshman I adore is Sir Tom Jones. I recorded his 80th birthday show so I could watch it whenever I needed cheering up.

Back in the 60s I wasn’t one of Tom’s knicker-throwers.

I didn’t like him much back then because he kept dyeing his hair black and I thought, “What’s the point?”

But now he’s older I love him – he looks much better grey and has mellowed.

Would I throw my knickers at him now?

With Tena Ladies in them, no chance.


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