Real Life Stories

Suppergran – Bettina, 90, has been frying for 77 years

By Janet Boyle, 29 June 2013 4.22pm.

... and yes, she eats chips every day.

A 90-year-old gran has clocked up 77 years in one job — serving fish suppers at the family chip shop.

Sprightly Scots-Italian Bettina Dawson has been working in the Moffat shop since her parents drafted her in one busy Friday evening in 1936.

Astonishingly, “Toosh”, as she is known to friends, works six days a week alongside her daughter Rosina.

Bettina, who is believed to be the oldest fish fryer in the world, eats chips every single day and has a fish supper three times a week. But despite her love of fried food, and the fact that she was a smoker when she was younger, she is as fit as a fiddle with her doctor calling her his “star patient”.

“I would work seven days if my family would let me,” she chuckled.

“It’s a great job and I wouldn’t know what to do if I retired.

“Fish suppers and the banter from customers keep me going.”

Bettina, who has two children, Michael, 56, and Rosina, 50, and one grandchild, Gemma, 29, believes she has cooked up well over half a million suppers in her time.

She starts work at 10 am and puts in a 10-hour shift each day, peeling spuds, preparing batter and frying suppers.

The shop is always busy with locals and gets trade from passing holidaymakers.

Bettina reckons the secret of a long working life is steering clear of the pub.

“I have never been in a pub in my life because women weren’t really allowed in when I was young,” she said.

“To be honest, I don’t like alcohol and can truly say I have never missed it.”

Staying chirpy comes from “never looking back”, she added.

The nonagenarian believes she is in good shape for her age and still fits into a size 12 dress despite her great love of fish and chips. And she revels in the fact that her GP is delighted with her health.

Tablets for blood pressure keep her in check and she takes a statin for cholesterol.

“My doctor says that’s normal for my age and that I’m his star patient,” she smiled.

“Besides, he knows I would never stop working so there’s no point in him even suggesting it.”

Over the years Bettina has served up suppers to a few famous faces including 70s superstar Leo Sayer.

“He arrived one night after playing in Glasgow. We’ve also had a few visits from jockeys even though they are supposed to keep their weight very low.”

Bettina’s parents Antonio and Pascalina Dicerbo opened the chippy after arriving in Scotland in 1922.

Bettina had four brothers, Philip, Vincent, Francis and Emilio.

Emilio, who lives on the same street as Bettina and is better known as Jock, is the only other survivor.

• Have you clocked up half a century or more in the same job or know someone who has? Call us on 0141 567 2776 or email