Family and friends surprise Myrtle Harris

Party at The Lodge marks carnival president’s 80th birthday.

Family and friends were waiting to greet Honiton businesswoman Myrtle Harris at a surprise party to mark her 80th birthday.

After months in the planning relatives from as far afield as America and Australia were among the guests at the event, held at The Lodge last night (Sunday).

The party followed a birthday luncheon at The Deer Park Country Hotel.

Former employees and carnival supporters were among the guests. Mrs Harris is the enthusiastic president of Honiton and District Carnival.

The celebration took place after Mrs Harris and 12 members of her family enjoyed a holiday cruise, starting from Palma in Spain.

“It was a lucky group of 13 for us,” she said, “because we had a wonderful time.”

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Mrs Harris, known for her great sense of humour, was the subject of a special photographic display at the party. Her life was depicted in pictures, from recent photographs taken on the cruise to her time growing up in the ice cream van industry in North Devon.

In fact, the Midweek Herald can exclusively reveal that Mrs Harris passed her driving test at the wheel of an ice cream van.

The examiner sat on a crate (except when she executed an emergency stop!).

Mrs Harris thoroughly enjoyed her surprise party and explained during a speech that she had no idea the event had been planned.

A great fan of buffets, Mrs Harris enjoyed one laid on in her honour - as well as specially-made birthday cake.