IT WAS a sign of the strength of her family and of the number of lives she has touched that Nan Newbigging celebrated her 100th birthday among more than 70 friends and family members – many of whom made a special trip from Canada and China.
And it’s indicative of her ambition and relative rude health that Nan is aiming to receive a second telegram from the Queen – next year, when she turns 101.
“She has always said she would get the card from the Queen,” said daughter Ellen Graham. “I wouldn’t be surprised if she lives on to get another card. She is very contented – I’ve never heard her moan or complain. She is always happy to fall in with whatever life throws at her.”
Nan, born in Smailholm but now of Douglas Haig Court, grew up as the daughter of a farmworker and flitted between Hassendean, Denholm and Minto in her early life. She was married for more than 40 years to Willie until his death in 1979.
She celebrated her birthday with a family dinner at the Buccleuch Hotel two days before her big day and with friends on her birthday, Sunday, August 26. Her children Ellen, Jim and Ian all attended with their partners and assorted children and grandchildren. Ian travelled from Canada, where he has lived since 1968, and his son flew from China – with wife and newly-born Angus in tow – just for the occasion.
“It was the first time any of us has seen him,” Ellen said of Angus. “Mum was thrilled to have everyone around: all eight grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.
“At the party, there were many of her old friends and family that she hadn’t seen in a long time, and she really enjoyed catching up with them.
“There were around 70 or 80 people there for the birthday buffet and cake, which, unfortunately, was not big enough for 100 candles. On the day, she got a card hand-delivered by the Lord Lieutenant of Roxburgh, Ettrick and Lauderdale.”