WITH a little help from her friends, Betty Stewart yesterday celebrated 50 years since The Beatles arrived in Australia and she survived Beatlemania.
Now living at The Grange in Thurgoona, Ms Stewart was promotion director for the Fab Four’s tour in 1964.
She was there as they reached their hotel after arriving in a sodden Sydney and being paraded on the back of a truck at the airport.
“They were dripping wet and George Harrison had to take all his clothes off,” she said.
“I gave him a towel and there was a photo with him in it on the balcony and that went around the world.”
Five decades on, Ms Stewart, 98, was entertaining 30 or more of her Grange friends with tales of her time in the eye of Beatlemania which saw her organise Paul McCartney’s 22nd birthday party.
“The week we spent together was delightful, it was amazing what went on,” she said.
Asked her favourite memory, Ms Stewart recalled a conversation with John Lennon.
“I remember John saying to me, as we listened to all the noise outside with the crowd yelling ‘we want The Beatles’, ‘when all of this stops the music stops’,” she said.
“He was very spiritual, Paul was very smart and when he said ‘I want a party in 10 days’, well, we got it together, but we had a job.”
Bert Newton yesterday emailed Ms Stewart: “Even before The Beatles discovered you I’ll never forget your kindness and caring for a young teenage radio announcer back in the ’50s.”
Molly Meldrum also sent his good wishes.