Plucky Ethel, 106, eyes her favourite TV shows

Ethel is presented with some flowers as a gift by Trust staff. Also pictured are Emma Lynch, Tina Hunt (niece), Stephanie Eckersley and Mr Manoj Mathai
Ethel is presented with some flowers as a gift by Trust staff. Also pictured are Emma Lynch, Tina Hunt (niece), Stephanie Eckersley and Mr Manoj Mathai
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Ethel Howard has miraculously had her sight restored - at the tender age of 106!

The pensioner’s sight had deteriorated so much she couldn’t enjoy some of her favourite pastimes.

She was so frustrated not being able to do her crosswords or watch the telly

Her niece Tina Hunt said: “She loves reading and doing crosswords and she also enjoys watching the telly. But suddenly she couldn’t do them anymore and found it difficult to see things.”

Eventually the problem got so bad that she had to go and see a specialist. The sprightly OAP, a former costume designer at the Tower Ballet in Blackpool, went to see Manoj Mathai at Boston House eye unit in Wigan, last July complaining of foggy vision in both eyes.

She was diagnosed to have cateracts and was listed for surgery. Her first cateract was removed last October and the second one in January, with IOL (Intraocular Lens) implants placed in both eyes.

Both procedures produced outstanding results and this week she paid one last visit to for her postoperative check and was presented with a bouquet of flowers by staff impressed by her incredible story.

Mr Mathai is an experienced Ophthalmology Consultant, but he said treating Ethel has left an indelible impression on him.

He said: “This lady has left a mark on me with her longevity and spirit.

“I feel she is a story that must be told, she deserves a standing ovation for her effort.”

Her incredible effort and bravery when faced with a daunting procedure is something that Tina pays tribute to as well.

Ethel has lived a very full life, a fact Tina attributes to her determination to always cook her own food from fresh ingredients and living healthily.

Ethel says with pride: “I don’t eat any junk food.”

But she does admit to the odd brandy now and then. “Well it’s cheaper than whisky these days,” Ethel jokingly replies.

Before retirement, Ethel had worked a variety of jobs.

These included displaying her creative side, as a costume designer for the Tower Ballet, and a more serious side, when she had been a Housemother for teenage boys at a remand centre in Poulton.

There has been adventure in her life as well.

When she was 26, she went on a world cruise.

When asked how it feels to have her sight restored, Ethel said: “It’s great” adding she would like to thank all the lovely staff at WWL especially Mr Mathai and nursing staff, Emma Lynch and Stephanie Eckersley,

Her niece, Tina, is overjoyed with how things have developed.

She said: “It’s a blessing, she had been so frustrated with her not being able to do her crosswords or watch the telly, but that has now gone.”