Vernon’s Betty Ladyman (centre), a 65-year member of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Auxiliary, celebrated her 100th birthday in the old section of the hospital Monday, Dec. 9 with auxiliary friends Mary Gourlay (left) and Anne Mae Rea. Ladyman was born in England Dec. 3, 1919. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Vernon ‘cartoon band-aid lady’ turns 100

Betty Ladyman used to hand out band-aids with cartoons to kids getting needles at VJH or lab

Work. Eat. Play. Drink. Those are Betty Ladyman’s four keys to reaching 100 years of age.

The native of Surrey, England — born Dec. 3, 1919 — celebrated her milestone birthday in the basement of the old section of Vernon Jubilee Hospital on Monday, Dec. 9, with about 30 of her close friends with the hospital’s auxiliary, an organization Ladyman has proudly served with for the past 65 years, including a stint as president in 1973.

“I feel the same as when I was 99,” deadpanned Ladyman in a delightful British accent that has never left her.

She also joked her name is L-A-D-Y, M-A-N, “half and half” when asked to spell it for a reporter.

“I’m easy to get along with.”

She married John Ladyman in 1943 and had two children, a son, Stuart, who lives in Penticton, where he worked for the school district, and a daughter, Elizabeth, a veterinarian in Merritt. John was a chartered accountant and, after the Second World War, a friend of the Ladymans said there were plenty of jobs in Canada.

They packed up and arrived in the North Okanagan in 1952. She joined the Junior Auxiliary to VJH in 1954, and was made a life member of the auxiliary in 1990.

Ladyman was affectionately known around the hospital as the “Cartoon Band-Aid lady” for many years.

“I bought and supplied cartoon band-aids for the children having blood work at the hospital and downtown lab,” said Ladyman, who said she eats and drinks anything and plays bridge and bingo twice a week. She’s fond of fruit cake and brandy.

”I was always interested in hospital work, but I knew I’d be no good as a nurse,” she said.

Though not a regular anymore, Ladyman still attends VJH Auxiliary meetings when she can.

“She has done every job in the auxiliary at least once and, until a few years ago, remained active, attending general meetings and auxiliary functions whenever she could,” said May Correale, the auxiliary’s historian.

A potluck luncheon complete with raffle prizes, big birthday cake and card, was held in Ladyman’s honour.


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