Former acrobat who performed at London Palladium celebrates 103rd birthday in Skegness

A former acrobat who once performed at the London Palladium had family and friends jumping through hoops to make sure she had a fabulous103rd birthday.

Bea celebrating her 103rd birthday with her son, Simon, and daughter-in-law.
Bea celebrating her 103rd birthday with her son, Simon, and daughter-in-law.

Family joined Bea Rapley for a party with residents and staff at Syne Hills Care Home on New Year's Day.

Bea moved to Skegness in 1993 to be closer to her son and he and her daughter-in-law were special guests at the party.

Born in Liverpool, Bea has had a rich and varied life, using her skill with numbers.

Having secured a job at Crawford’s biscuit factory, aged 14, it wasn’t long before she was in the office dealing with orders.

From there, she moved onto the stage as part of an amazing acrobatic troupe, ‘The Three Matas’.

‘Les Trois Matas’, as they were also known, rose to fame in the mid to late 1930s and played all the big London variety theatres like the London Palladium.

Their fame was such that they were filmed for ‘Pathe News’ and can now be seen on youtube (Bea is the one on the bottom!).

When the Second World War broke out they worked on ENZA, entertaining troops during the war

After her marriage to Alex, she helped him to run a fish and chip shop in Sunninghill, before moving on to work in the office of a garage.

She retired after working for Barclays bank but continued to be busy after retirement when she and her husband became involved at Ascot races

Bea worked in the lost property office where she had many surprising items handed in.

She carried on being active after moving to Skegness, spending several years doing voluntary work in a charity shop.

She gave it up to spend more time supporting her husband, Alex, who sadly passed away in 2012, aged 95 years.

Bea moved into Syne Hills Care Home in 2014 when living at home became too much for her.

She has been a resident there for eight years and still enjoys her memories of her glamorous life on the stage.