Girl band Little Mix’s oldest fan is today celebrating her 99th birthday.
Jenny Gasston is toasting the milestone with her family at her home in Glenthorpe House, West Stevenson Street, South Shields.
The only thing that could make it better for Jenny would be having the Little Mix girls there as well.
Jenny even has a special connection to the X Factor-winning group. Her son, Stuart, is the partner of South Shields-born member Perrie Edwards’s grandmother, Nancy Hogg.
Jenny, who also has a grand-daughter and two great-grandchildren, has been a fan of the group, which stars Perrie, fellow South Shields girl Jade Thirlwall, Jesy Nelson and Leigh-Anne Pinnock, ever since their winning stint on the ITV talent show.
She said: “I love their music. I’ve got their CD and I listen to it all the time. I sat and watched them on X Factor every week, and I voted for them too.
“Putting them together as a group was a brilliant idea because they’re just marvellous. They’re very talented – Change Your Life is my favourite song. Perrie is lovely and the last time I saw her she gave me a big cuddle.”
Last year, Jenny received a signed photo from the girls for her birthday.
She said: “It was lovely of them to do that and I was really happy to get it. Little Mix are keeping me young.”
Jenny was once a well-known businesswoman in South Shields, the owner of a general dealer’s, on the corner of Alice Street and Bertram Street, and the off-licence across the road.
During the Second World War, she supplied dozens of people with boxes she’d made up of food and other essentials. Despite not expecting anything in return, everyone paid her back when the war was over and they could afford it.
Each year, Jenny would also supply the Gospel Temperance Church, in Laygate, with oranges for their Good Friday celebrations. Jenny said: “I’ve lived in South Shields my whole life and I love it here. It’s very friendly and I’ve made some lovely friends over the years.”
Stuart, 70, said: “You’d never know my mam was 99. I think she puts that down to hard work.
“She’s brought me up on her own and she’s just got the biggest heart of anyone I know.”
Nancy added: “She’s amazing and she’s such a beautiful person. I call her mam. I had a beautiful mam of my own, but Jenny is just as wonderful.
“She absolutely loves Little Mix, and whenever she sees them on the telly or in the Gazette she rings me up to tell me. She’s got their album as well and she listens to it all the time. She’s a very big fan of the girls.”