Bulldog fan still with plenty of bark scores 100

WHEN Esma Pope first began to follow the Bulldogs over 80 years ago, they were known as the Cantabs, then the Berries and finally the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs in 1978.

As a big surprise for Esma’s 100th birthday celebration on Monday (August 26), Roselands nursing home Leigh Place organised a special visit from Bulldogs coach Dean Pay who chatted away about the good old days and how the Bulldogs are on the comeback trail.
When she first fell in love with the Bulldogs, Esma and her mother had just moved to Lakemba after their home in Stuart Town, near Wellington in the state’s central west, had been flooded to make way for Burrendong Dam.
“Esma used to walk down to Belmore Oval to watch her favourite team play; she never lost her passion for the Bulldogs,” great niece Louise said.
“It was such a lovely surprise for her to meet one of her heroes in Dean Pay.
“But that wasn’t all, the birthday girl also got a special visit from ‘Elvis’, a fantastic tribute performer, who sang all of her favourites in his legendary white suit; she and Elvis go back a long way.
“Aunt Esma was bopping along in her seat, it was wonderful to see her so happy at such a special celebration.”
Never marrying, Esma had lots of male friends and admirers but most “went to the war and never came back”.
However she is particularly close to her sisters Jo and Gladys’ children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who also treated her to a dinner on Saturday night at City Tattersalls Club where Esma has been a member for 52 years.
“Esma was a keen golfer and walked everywhere which may explain her longevity and for years worked at PMG as a telephonist in the city before retiring and moving to Leigh Place three years ago,” Louise added.