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Obit: Winnie of The Zimmers

January 2009

POP star pensioner Winifred Warburton has died aged 101.
As a member of The Zimmers she enjoyed a hit single and appeared with George Clooney.
Winnie died on New Year's Day at Northview Nursing and Residential Home in Cotgrave. A message on the band's MySpace reads: "Winnie was 101 but still had the mind of a much more youthful individual. She was a star in the early days of the band and was much loved by everyone in the band, at the BBC and the record label as well. Winnie will always grace the front cover of our album Lust For Life as our fitting tribute to her."
Fellow Zimmer Peter Oakley, 81, known to fans as Geriatric1927, recorded a tribute to her on YouTube. On it he says: "She really blossomed with all the celebrity attention that was thrown at her."
The Zimmers were put together for a BBC documentary to highlight the plight of the elderly in 2007. All members were of pensionable age, ranging from 60 to 101.

Winnie leads the way across Abbey Road where the single was recorded

Their first single, a cover of The Who's My Generation , reached the Top 40. Winnie was among three Zimmers to fly to Los Angeles to appear on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno , where she met fellow guest George Clooney. Soon after she told the Evening Post : "I preferred Jay Leno, he's more my age." In the US that Winnie, a lifelong non-smoker and teetotaller, discovered champagne. "Until I went to America I didn't like any drink but the champagne flowed over there and I got quite a taste for it."

Winnie meets George Clooney in L.A.

Ill health limited her involvement with The Zimmers during last year, although the band remained active and released a new single, a cover of The Prodigy's Firestarter , followed by the album.
She was born Winifred Killer, in Blackpool, but was rejected by her parents at the age of eight.
"I had an awful, chequered young life really. I was rejected by my mother. I was her third child in a very short time. I think I was too much for her and finished up in London living with a great aunt, a cruel and horrible woman.
"I often contemplated suicide.
"The school had rejected me because I was a left-handed, mentally retarded unteachable child. That was how they described me in a report.
"And they were going to send me to a home for difficult children."
She was eventually adopted, though not legally, by a family friend who became her guardian and helped her train to become a shorthand typist and secretary.
She also wrote books on crocheting and for a period in the 60s tried her hand at reporting for the Post under her married name Winifred Broughton
From the mid-90s she lived in various care homes in Nottingham and Derby and up until her death had been writing her life story. She was also a keen poet and sent the Post her own epitaph – A Note For The Undertaker – just as she celebrated her 100th birthday.

"When I pop off,
kindly stem my nomadic instinct, pro tem
Screw me down extra tight
or I might take flight
to avoid that slow crawl to the crem."

She was twice married and is survived by a daughter, granddaughter and two great grandchildren.

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