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Irene has got it covered at the age of 100; Woman marks centenary by starring on front of housing firm's magazine.


'HOMES fit for heroes' was the coalition government's promise for soldiers returning from the horrors of the First World War.

The pledge was made by Liberal Prime Minister, Lloyd George, the day after Armistice Day and he actually said 'Habitations fit for the heroes who have won the war' would be provided.

In reality a scarcity of skilled manpower in the building industry and lack of funds hampered the plan.

But in 1919 The Addison Act paved the way for large scale construction of council houses and the first were built.

A few weeks after the legislation was introduced, on August 19 that year, Irene Butters was born. She has spent her entire life living in social housing.

Now Irene Radcliffe, her married name, she has marked her centenary by becoming a cover girl. Salix Homes, the Housing Association that manages the former Salford council tower block where she lives, has put her on the front of its magazine.

To celebrate her first modelling job, Irene was given a tour of the print and production centre in Leeds where the magazine is designed and printed.

She pushed the button on the printing press and watched as her cover came off the run.

She said: "I'd never have thought in a million years that I'd be a cover girl at my age, but it's been a wonderful experience.

"It was marvellous to see how the magazine is made and really interesting to see it all come together - I didn't realise there was so much to it."

Irene's cover shot was taken at her recent 100 birthday party organised by her nephew, Peter Butters, and the residents at Nine Acre Court, which was also attended by the Ceremonial Mayor of Salford Charlie McIntyre.

Irene joked: "I'd never done any modelling before, but I'd like to be on the cover of Vogue next."

Irene was the youngest of ten children and grew up with her siblings and parents Mary-Anne and James Butters in a terraced house on Robert Hall Street in Ordsall. Her dad was a stevedore on Salford docks and Irene has precious memories of the famous Salford spirit.

"The people have always been my favourite thing about Salford and I remember there was a real sense of community."

Aged 18 she started work at British Home Stores in Manchester where she worked her way up to supervisor during a 29-year career.

During the 1970s, some of the properties on Robert Hall Street were demolished and she moved with her older sister, May, to a new tower block in Ordsall - Sunnyside Court, before moving to her current home at Nine Acre Court in 1990 where she plans to live out her years.

The block was taken over by Salix when it acquired 8,000 of the council's properties. She said: "I've spent most of my life living in a tower block now. We were on a lower floor and when we first moved in I was a bit frightened thinking of all those flats on top of me, but you soon get used to it.

"I wouldn't want to live anywhere else now," she said. "I love living here, I know everyone, and my flat has a great view of the park. That park is my life - I watch the children playing and the football matches."

And her secret for a long life? "I've never smoked or gone out with boys, though I am on the look-out for a toy boy," she joked. "I enjoy the odd Guinness or a gin and tonic. I've had a good life and I've always looked after myself and my appearance - and I think that's the secret."


Irene aged 18 when she worked at BHS in Manchester

Irene Radcliffe is the cover girl for a housing publication
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Publication:Manchester Evening News (Manchester, United Kingdom)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 20, 2019
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