Irene Schofield pictured with her prize (1)

A 100-year-old woman from Crewe has won the “Grow Old Disgracefully” writing competition with a vivid childhood memory of being saved by a bathtub, almost a century ago.

Irene Schofield, resident of Belong Crewe care village on Brookhouse Drive, impressed a panel of judges with her ‘Saved by a bathtub’ story.

It was a true recollection starring her four-year-old self, and won the competition open to residents in care facilities.

Set on a warm summer’s day, the tale recalls a young Irene sneaking out of an afternoon nap to finish cleaning bedroom windows her mother had begun washing before leaving to attend to a visitor.

Having lost her balance on the windowsill, the toddler toppled 40 feet, landing safely in a tin bath dedicated to her brothers’ mining work clothes.

Once she was located, checked-over and cuddled by her horrified mother, Irene was sent for a clean-up in the family’s bathtub.

Irene remembers: “I never did get thanked for cleaning those windows!

“I’ve always been better at telling stories than writing them.

“When working as a shop assistant years ago, every time I’d dress and wash the windows, I’d think about what happened to me.

“I thought other people would enjoy reading about my mischief, and so decided to share it with the world.

“It’s amazing that I won, I’m still in shock – I’ve never been famous before.”

The competition was set up by The Grow Old Disgracefully Charitable Trust and invited the over-90s to pen short stories to the theme of childhood anecdotes.

A judging panel was made up of BAFTA-winning film actress Virginia McKenna, children’s author Lauren St John, BBC broadcaster Nicholas Owen; crime writer Peter James, and Scottish literary agent Judy Moir.

Kathryn Farmer, general manager at Belong Crewe, said: “We’re ever so proud of Irene’s win.

“It just goes to show that a good story can stand the test of time.

“Her win has inspired our other residents to regale us with a number of personal tales, many of which involve them growing old a little disgracefully!”

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