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Behold! The 65-year-old lightbulb that survived Woolies

Valerie Beaney and her sister Elaine Woodcock with the 65-year-old lightbulb
Valerie Beaney and her sister Elaine Woodcock with the 65-year-old lightbulb

It may be a family heirloom, but it could also become a national treasure too, just like the chain store that sold it.

Back in 1943, Dorothy Allen bought a light bulb from Woolworths – and it’s still working.

The bulb is now in the careful hands of Mrs Allen’s daughters, Valerie Beaney, 68, and her sister Elaine Woodcock, 66, and is apparently still determined to shine on despite the imminent demise of the historic High Street chain.

We asked Mrs Beaney, of Oak Lane, Headcorn, to switch the bulb on for us, so that our viewers can see for themselves the historic bulb in action.

~To see a video of the pensioner lightbulb in action, go to www.kentmessenger.co.uk>>>

Mrs Allen, who was known as Rose, bought the bulb from Woolworths in Walthamstow, when ration books were still in use and the blackout was in force.

In fact, soon after, their father was prosecuted for showing light during the blackout, and so painted the light bulbs in the house blue. The bulb still carries remnants of that blue paint, but much of it has been scraped off.

~Meet the middle-aged Woolies Christmas fairy that has survived the test of time>>>

The bulb was in constant use in the family’s toilet throughout the sisters’ childhoods, and when the family moved to Pluckley, near Ashford, it went along too, and continued to be in everyday use until three years ago, when Mrs Allen died.

Mrs Beaney said: “It still has blue specks of the paint Dad put on during the war.

“I remember it in the loo while I was growing up.

“I am terrified of breaking it now. That’s why I wrapped it up two years ago and put it away in a cupboard after Mum died. “

But Mrs Beaney and Mrs Woodcock decided to be brave for the Kent Messenger and lit the bulb, to demonstrate that it still works.

Mrs Beaney said: “I am very sad about Woolworths; I love Woolworths.

~Woolies stores set to close>>>

“It didn’t matter what you wanted, you’d pop into Woolies and 99 per cent of the time you’d get it. The kids loved Woolworths too.

“It just shows – they don’t make them like they used to.”

Mrs Beaney, of Oak Lane, Headcorn, wrote to Woolworths’ head office in 1996, and received a congratulatory letter.

• Can you better this? Have you good a Woolies wonder that has survived the test of time? Or have you got any fantastic memories of the landmark store? Email us at editor.kentonline@thekmgroup.co.uk or add a comment below.

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