“I fully intend to grow old disgracefully.

At my time in life I don’t care what people think.“

Betty Mewis

Reveal Magazine

UK March 2006
Freelance Journalists – Laure Mannering and Kelly Strange

Gorgeous gran seeks sexy man

I had a Facelift at 82

Betty Mewis, 82 from Torquay, Devon tells us how!

Betty looked at herself in the mirror and saw an old woman staring back. As she focused on her wrinkles and the bags under the eyes, she really felt her age.

Six weeks earlier she had lost her 84 year old husband, Bill, the man she’d been with since her teens. Now she wondered of she would ever feel happy again.

It was only when her son, Roger, 59 watched a programme about cosmetic surgery on TV and joked his mum should consider a facelift, that she felt inspired to make a new start.

Betty says: “People might ask why I bothered having a facelift at my age – but why not ? When you’re 82, you have to be spontaneous. I still feel young inside, so I decided to do something about the outside. “When I was considering it , I picked up one of my most treasured photos of Bill. “I asked him what he thought and could almost hear him saying” “You go for it, girls.” Now, grandmother-of-five Betty looks 20 years younger and even feels ready fro romance.

“It would be lovely to have those feelings of love again, “says Betty, who also has a daughter, Vaughn, 53. Betty had always taken pride in her appearance, dressing glamorously and watching her weight. “I eat healthily, drink lots of water and exercise regularly,” she say. “I gave up smoking 40 years ago and still have all y own teeth, which not many people my age can say ! “

But time had taken its toll – and when Bill died of cancer in October 2004, she worried the fun was gone from her life. “When I lost Bill, I thoughts I would never feel joy or excitements again.” Says Betty. But Roger made his throwaway remark about getting a facelift; Betty started to think seriously about surgery. “He joked I could consider having a facelift to make myself feel better and I asked him to look into it . Says Betty. “he was surprised but did some research. Then I asked him to book me in for a consultation. “The only operation I’d ever had were two knee replacements, so it was a big step.” Betty went to see South African Surgeon Rick van der Poel in London in October last year. “ I was sure he’d tell me to go away because I was too old, “ says betty. “But although I was his oldest-ever patient, he said he could still make me look younger. I was happy. “he warned me there was a chance I might not make it though the anaesthetic because of my age, but I thoughts, if I’m going to die, it might as well be while I’m being made beautiful!”

In January this year Betty went under the knife She flew to Van der Poel’s clinic in Johannesburg so she could recuperate in the sunshine. “I wasn’t nervous at all.” Recalls Betty. “I was proud of myself for having the courage to go though with it and looked forward to seeing the results.” Betty underwent a full facelift, with upper and lower eye surgery and neck tightening – at a cost of £ 5 000.

During the painstaking six-hour operation, the surgeon cut round Betty’s ear to pull back the skin over her lower face and smooth her cheeks and neck. He then cut away excess skin from above and below her eyes. Betty also had fillers to plump the lines round the mouth and Botox round here eyes and forehead. She insists she felt no pain after the gruelling procedure. “I was wrapped in bandages, which was a little uncomfortable, and I was in no rush to look at, myself, “ She says

Two days after the operation, Betty looked in the mirror for the first time. “There were stitches and dried blood, but already I could see the difference, “she says. “Over the next few days. The bruising came out and my eyes were puffy. But my skin looked so much smother and younger. “It was great to do something for myself and I knew Bill was with me every step on the way. “ After 18days, Betty was ready to fly back to England and show off her new face. She says: “The first person to see me was my home help. She put her hand over her mouth and said: “Is it really you? You look 20 years younger. “She shook her head as if she didn’t believe it “ In the days that followed, friend and family flicked to see Betty’s amazing transformation. She says” ‘My youngest grandchild, Melanie, 10 said: “Go on, Nana, good for you, “ – I’m loving every minute of it – I’m just doing what I please and it’s fun.

“I fully intend to grow old disgracefully. At my time in life I don’t care what people think. “Thanks to my surgery, I’m looking forward to my 83rd birthday in June. I even joked with the surgeon that I’d be back in 10 years for an MOT.

I want people to know that age does not have to be a barrier” Although her heart will always belong to Bill, Betty is now hoping she’ll be able to love again. All I need now is another adventure, she says. When Bill died I thought I’d never feel excitement again, but I have. I also thought I’d never feel love so maybe that’s still possible, too. That would be too much work at my age. I hear they can be very high-maintenance.


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