AND all because the lady loves... throwing custard pies. The iconic Cadbury’s Milk Tray advert of the 1970s didn’t actually finish like that, but a few years later there was a scenario that did.

Because actor Gary Myers, who played the dashing James Bond style hero who risked life and limb to deliver a £2 box of chocolates to some invisible woman, was splatted in the face with a creamy cake by a pretty young actress from Worcestershire.

Elizabeth Brown, who had been talent spotted in that 1980s incrowd hotspot Peebles Wine Bar in Bromsgrove, was nearly overcome by the experience, too.

She said: “I remember Terence Donovan (yes, THE Terence Donovan, Swinging Sixties’ photographer and later film director), who was directing the shoot, urging me to throw the pie harder. But I thought, ‘I can’t do that’. Here I was with probably the most handsome man in the world before me, flinging a custard pie in his face.

“Whatever most women at the time would have wanted to do with Gary Myers, throwing a pie at him wouldn’t have come even near the top of the list. But I had to do it.”

No grudge held though, because Elizabeth went on to feature in more than 200 television commercials for products as diverse as Kelloggs Cornflakes to Mary Quant fashion, Galaxy chocolate to De Beers diamonds.

However, often it wasn’t her stunning looks that were the main attraction, because Elizabeth Brown has particularly beautiful hands.

She said: “A lot of my advertising work featured just my hands. I was a hand model or double quite a few times. I remember there was one shot of actor Annabel Giles, who has been back in the news recently, which showed her face and neck, but with my hands reaching up to them.”

In fact Elizabeth’s hands were deemed so valuable, they were insured with Lloyds for half a million pounds – and that was 20 years ago. But it’s not for her photographic and modelling career that I came across this lady.

Because in one of these “you’ll never guess in a million years”

sagas, she has recently published what is being widely touted as the definitive guide to dowsing. That’s right, the ancient art of detecting water or some other object with a hazel twig or a metal prong.

Or, as in Elizabeth’s case, applications of the skill far beyond the back garden and into the world of health and well-being. Dowsing: The Ultimate Guide for the 21st Century has been described as the dowsing bible and is available on Amazon for about £10.

It’s the latest twist in what has so far been a quite extraordinary life for this former schoolgirl from Bromsgrove High. Cutting right to the chase, her great grandfather was a dowser who lived in a little cottage in the Vale of Evesham village of Offenham.

Elizabeth said: “I remember going to visit him when I was a child and I had some magical times there. He lived what today would be called, I suppose, a very green lifestyle. He collected his rainwater in a butt, grew his own vegetables and really lived off the land. He was very much in tune with nature.”

But dowsing was not much on her mind as a teenager.

She said: “At the time I wanted to be an actress. I had appeared in some school plays and I got a place at Manchester University School of Theatre. But then I realised it wasn’t for me. There was some very heavy talent in my year and I just hadn’t got the confidence to go out on stage in front of people. It just wasn’t in my personality.”

So she took a job with Birmingham City Council as an auditor. But then a chance encounter changed it all.

Sitting with friends one day in Peebles Wine Bar, she was spotted across a very crowded room by a chap who introduced himself as the marketing director for Cadbury’s.

Would she, he asked, be prepared to do some test shots with a view to modelling for the chocolate firm?

The answer was yes, the session went well and there followed a 10-year career as a model who appeared before the lenses of legendary names such as the aforesaid Mr Donovan and David Bailey, too. Elizabeth said: “Terence Donovan was my favourite. He was such a gentleman and so calm.”

In another slightly bizarre twist, Elizabeth then turned her hand to interior design and worked for eight years in international relocation, relocating executives of major multinationals and blue chip companies and their families from one country to another.

It was while in America in 1992 she was re-introduced to the art of dowsing. By then Elizabeth was running a successful geopathic stress consultancy, having discovered for herself the debilitating effects of working in offices with high levels of electromagnetic pollution.

Deciding to take dowsing seriously she studied and her teachers have been as diverse as a Hopi medicine woman to two past presidents of the British Society of Dowsers. To date she has been dowsing for 20 years and professionally for 10.

Elizabeth said: “I use dowsing as a means of finding out. I use it not only to identify detrimental environmental energies but also causative factors behind illnesses, particularly cancer, ME and all forms of allergies. So you can treat the cause and not the symptoms.”

In this Elizabeth has been remarkably successful. Her book has been selling worldwide and is the first dowsing book to be translated into Arabic, with a Japanese version likely to follow.

She said: “I’m thrilled skinny.”

Better even than receiving a box of Cadbury’s Milk Tray. Or perhaps, not quite.