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Nov 03, 2021, 02:15 AM

I was born in Measham, a small village in Leicestershire, where I grew up with my younger brother, mother and father. Sadly, I lost my brother when he was only 2, and my father, a miner, died when I was only 12. My mother and I were always very close and remained so for the rest of her life. I still feel I had a normal, happy childhood, though we made our own pleasures in those days, and everyone knew everyone.

I started work when I was 14 years old, firstly clerical, and later the telephone switchboard. Then came World War II, when I was called to assist with clerical work at Bletchley Park for the Foreign Office. I worked there for three years.

I met my husband in 1941, a Glaswegian named George Kelly, while he was based in my village with the army. We married after the war, in 1947, before I moved to Glasgow, where I’ve remained ever since. George and I were happily married for 68 years, and had two lovely daughters, Allison and Gillian, bringing us to a family of four. My daughters are wonderful, and have been a great comfort to me, more so than ever since I moved into the care home.

I’ve been at Whitecraigs Care Home in Thornliebank for six months now, and I’m very happy here. We play bingo regularly, and I even tried karaoke for the first time. My favourite song to sing is White Cliffs of Dover by Vera Lynn – I just love the lyrics. I have great relationships with the other residents and the staff, and have even been involved in recruitment of new staff which I’ve really enjoyed.

I still enjoy my independence at Whitecraigs, and the home is really supportive of that. I believe that care workers should be innately caring, but they have to be able to have a good laugh too. That’s our staff to a T. A few months ago, they asked what I would like to do to mark my 100th birthday, and suggested booking a room for a party since I didn’t have any plans. With their help, I now have lots planned. On my birthday, I’ll see my closest family members and on Friday, I’ll celebrate with my friends within the home. Over the weekend, my three grandchildren and four grandchildren will visit me too. I’m so looking forward to it.

I keep busy at Whitecraigs, and amidst bingo and karaoke, I love to knit. I’ve made hats for newborns at the children’s hospital, and blankets for ‘Fish and Chip babies’ – little ones who are wrapped in newspaper if they don’t have anything thicker. I like to help out where I can.

I can’t quite believe I’m 100 years old. I don’t know what the secret to living so long is, I’ve had a normal life. We ate plain, healthy food that was always homemade, and we spent a lot of time outdoors, my husband and I walked a lot in the fresh air, so maybe that has something to do with it. The years have certainly flown in, but I have lots of lovely memories, with lots more to make.

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