One of West Northumberland’s most recognisable characters celebrated a big day recently, and hopes to see her family and friends in person once restrictions ease in the next few months.

Elsie Dixon, from Greenhead, is one of the most popular and well-known figures in the area and recently celebrated her 80th birthday.

Elsie, who before the Covid-19 pandemic had one of the busiest social life’s of anyone in the region, has lived near to the village her whole life and remains one of the most active residents in the local area.

From being a warden at the local church, to having the role as president of the local Women’s Institute, Elsie remains one of the area’s most recognisable figures and is always doing something productive.

Last Sunday she celebrated her big day and although couldn’t physically spend it with her family and friends, was able to at least enjoy the day as best as she could.

“I think the biggest thing has been just how many people have wished me a happy birthday,” said Elsie.

“Honestly, I can’t say thank you enough for all the flowers and messages I’ve been sent over the last few days.”

“Luckily I’ve been able to see my family on Zoom, which has been a huge help. Although they couldn’t be here in person, it was still great to see everyone digitally at least.”

With the current restrictions that are currently in force, it means that Elsie has to instead plan for what she wants to do to celebrate her big day once everyone is allowed to once again meet each other in larger gatherings.

“To be honest, I haven’t really got anything ‘big’ planned for when this is all over,” she went on to explain.

“Something I’d like to do is try and organise some form of coffee morning with everyone I know from the church just to say thank you in person for all the messages and phone calls I’ve had.”

Despite not being allowed to travel this year, Elsie did go on to reveal that she in a way has already celebrated her birthday in a rather amazing way.

“I guess in a way you could call it lucky, but I actually travelled to see some of my family in Australia a couple of years ago as kind of an early big birthday present to myself,” she explained.

“Obviously now looking back I certainly made the right decision with that!

“It was something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to do it when I did.

“I’ve just been telling people that in a way that was my present for my 80th, just it was a little bit earlier than the date itself!”