93-year-old beats virus ‘thanks to NHS and chicken soup’
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93-year-old beats virus ‘thanks to NHS and chicken soup’

Prize-winning bridge player Betty Bobbe, who has six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, fought off the illness with 'positive thinking' and is now back at home

Betty Bobbe 93 with her great grandson.
Betty Bobbe 93 with her great grandson.

A 93-year old Jewish great-grandmother from Hendon who survived the Blitz has beaten COVID-19 with a combination of chicken soup and “brilliant” medical care after being discharged from hospital.

The family of prize-winning bridge player Betty Bobbe, who turns 94 in August, said she was now back home recovering with the help of her live-in carer Zen after ten days in the COVID-19 ward at London’s Royal Free.

Betty, who has two children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, beat the virus with “positive thinking,” her family said, and now says she “can’t wait to get back to my bridge classes”.

The tough-nut gran spent the Blitz in London after taking a dislike to Wales, re-joining her parents in their London shop to spend most evenings in bomb shelters, and her grandson Sam Raven said the Blitz spirit helped her beat the virus.

“We feared the worst,” he said, speaking to Jewish News. “We were all constantly terrified, and it was a huge struggle for her not to have contact with her family, but the NHS looked after her brilliantly.”

He said his grandma “got through with the help of the Blitz spirit and with her diet of chicken soup and gefiltefish she fought the virus and won”.

Betty with one of her young great-grandchildren

Betty’s love of bridge, and talent for it, has taken her all over the world, playing in tournaments, but her first love is family, and that is clearly reciprocated.

“Everyone loves her,” said Sam, a screenwriter who lives in West Hampstead. “She was an only child who grew up in tough times and through her life she has amassed hundreds of friends, who were all rooting for her.”

Betty, whose husband Simon died ten years ago, does not know how she caught the virus, but first developed a cough and a temperature three weeks ago. Finally, when breathing became difficult, she went to hospital where she tested positive.

“Living through the Blitz helped her tough it out,” said Sam. “That and her life-long belief in positive thinking… She’s an eternal optimist, and of course her chicken soup recipe is first-class!”

Asked if she had a message for others, Betty said: “Keep your mask on, follow NHS advice and don’t be afraid to get help if your symptoms worsen.”

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