Edinburgh great, great gran's 90th birthday a 'dream come true' after Opera Guy puts on special show
A great, great gran said her 90th birthday party with all her family was a ‘dream come true’, after Scots singing sensation Opera Guy put on a surprise show just for her.
Elizabeth O’reilly from Bonnyrigg couldn’t believe it when her favourite singer Ryan Wallace showed up for her birthday and sang for an hour – with his setlist including some of her favourite songs.
More than 40 relatives took Elizabeth, known as Betty, away on a break to a cottage in Durham to mark her milestone birthday celebrations.
Betty, described as a ‘legend’, was over the moon to be away with her whole family including three sons Gordon, Eric and Alan, along with seven grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren and 2 great, great grandchildren.
But, when the popular singer appeared, she was moved to tears and told her family it was a dream come true.
Wallace who has gone viral online for belting out performances of opera hits and pop songs, surprised everyone with his closing rendition of ‘What a Wonderful World’, which was played at funeral of Betty’s husband Mike.
Her son Gordon said: “She was over the moon to have us all there. Then when she saw Ryan she was overwhelmed. There was not a dry eye in the house. She tried to push herself out of her wheelchair to greet him. I was in floods of tears when I saw her reaction. It was beautiful. He sang two very significant songs at the end and that was just so emotional for all of us.”
Betty is a big fan of the singer, who now lives in Belfast, and often shares videos of his performances with her family online.
Wallace was set to star in his first ever West End show in London when Covid-19 swept the country and lockdown hit last March.
Since then he has taken to the streets across the UK bringing opera entertainment to crowds.
From a big family of eight, Betty has always had a passion for music.
She worked as a secretary at Graysmill school for children with additional support needs, where she was very well respected.
To this day she still keeps in touch with staff, retired workers and even the families of children and considers them all part of her extended family.
She met husband Mike at a ballroom dancing class at Surgeon’s Hall and the pair were married for more than 50 years.
Her son Gordon said: “She’s not very mobile now but she is sharp as a tack. She is so loving and very much the head of the clan. The family goes to her for advice. She will FaceTime us regularly. Her eyesight is failing and she has been blind in one eye since she was a youngster, but that has never held her back.”
"She’s amazing. Growing up we moved around a fair bit, Dad was a fireman and worked shifts. Mum was a caring mum and a good cook. I think she got a lot of pleasure out of caring for people. She was very attentive to the kids at the school where she worked for years and they were fond of her.
"I’m so happy we could give her this, it’s just the best memory. She gave us so many.”