A centenarian who dedicated much of her life to supporting rescue donkeys was left stunned when an ass turned up to her 100th birthday party.
Marjorie Norton was celebrating the milestone event surrounded by family and friends who had set up a special garden party for her.
The pensioner, known to her loved ones as Babs, has had a soft spot for donkeys since she was a child and sponsored the animals during her retirement.
But she was left stunned when a donkey came galloping into her garden party on Saturday afternoon while she was sipping some bubbly.
And tennis fan Babs’ special birthday was topped off two days later with some shortbread made by Andy Murray’s gran who visited her care home together with the star’s mum Judy Murray.
Babs, who lives in Tullibody, Clackmannanshire, said: “I was having a lovely day with my family. The donkey was the icing on the cake. It was lovely really.
“I used to support a donkey called Dean who was giving rides to handicapped children but he retired and sadly died last year.
“My family said a surprise guest was coming to my birthday and it was quite something when the donkey came into the garden.
“I wasn’t expecting it and it was rather nice surprise. The donkey was so calm around the guests and really quite handsome. She had a few carrots.
“It was a special day.”
Elma Cunningham, donkey welfare adviser with the Donkey Sanctuary, specially brought donkey Seonaid from Carluke, Lanarkshire, so Babs could feed her with carrots.
Elma said: “Babs has been a supporter with the Donkey sanctuary for many years. If I was as fit and able as she was at 100 I would be quite happy.
“We do a lot of therapy work with children and adults who have special needs.
“We are frontrunners for donkey rescue, rescuing donkeys that have been cruelly treated or whose owners were no longer able to look after them.
“It’s great to hear about Miss Norton’s dedication and we were pleased to help with the surprise.”
And just two days later, on Tuesday, Babs received another surprise when the mother and grandmother of tennis star Andy Murray paid her a visit.
Staff at the Orchard Care Centre in Tullibody had arranged for them to come through Dunblane Tennis Club because Babs is a tennis fan
They brought a birthday card from Andy Murray and Shirley Erskine even brought some of her famous homemade shortbread.
Babs was born in Taunton, Somerset, as the third of five children to dental surgeon Ernest and Marjorie Norton
Aged 10 she moved to Birmingham with her family where she passed her 11+ exams but was unable to go to Grammar School.
She left school at 14 and moved back to Taunton to look after her grandparents following the death of her uncle who had supported them.
In 1934 she moved back to Birmingham to work at the Post Office where she served until she retired 40 years ago at the age of 60.
During the war she was also working as an Air Raid Warden, putting out fires in Birmingham at night and assisting people in need.
She retired to the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.
But then, at the age of 92, she decided to move to Tullibody in Clackmannanshire – to be closer to family who live in the area.
She received the Imperial Service Medal from the Queen — and of course a birthday card for her milestone event.
She remains an enthusiastic supporter of the Donkey Sanctuary who have been active since 1969.
Dignitaries from Clackmannanshire Council also paid Babs a birthday visit.
WHAT A LOVELY LADY & SUCH A HEART WARMING STORY . MAYBE THE CARE HOME CAN ARRANGE FOR HER TO WATCH THE LIVE WEBCAMS AT THE DONKEY SANCTUARYS HEADQUARTERS AT SIDMOUTH . WATCHING THE DONKEYS LIVE REALLY IS SOMETHING SPECIAL. MY BEST WISHES TO THIS AMAZING LADY X