Family makes Nellie’s day as she turns 100

Nellie celebrates with her family.
Nellie celebrates with her family.

A great-grandmother celebrated her 100th birthday at the weekend spending her milestone day in the company of family, friends, champagne and cake.

Nellie Thomson, nee Riddell, has survived two world wars, lived through the reigns of four British monarchs and the governments of 19 different prime ministers from David Lloyd George to Theresa May.

Nellie Thomson, 100, at Knowesouth Care Home.

Nellie Thomson, 100, at Knowesouth Care Home.

But while the world has changed dramatically since she was born in 1917, Nellie’s role at the heart of family life has remained steadfast.

And she was surrounded by three generations of her family at on Saturday when they threw a celebratory party at her home at Knowesouth Care Centre, near Bonchester Bridge.

Born and brought up in Blainslie, near Lauder, where she lived for 50 years, Nellie left school as a young teenager to care for her father and eight siblings following the death of her mother, aged 49.

She married William in 1940, but the Second World War meant the couple were forced to live apart for five years while he served in the Army in Germany and France and Nellie worked at Charlesfield Munitions Factory at St Boswells, making incendiary bombs.

Nellie with her daughter Isobel Sinton (centre) and grand-daughters Pam Cranston (left) and Dawn Edgar

Nellie with her daughter Isobel Sinton (centre) and grand-daughters Pam Cranston (left) and Dawn Edgar

After the war, the couple had a daughter, Isobel, and while William worked as a stonemason for the Scottish Borders Council, Nellie spent around 10 years as a dinner lady at Blainslie’s primary school.

She later worked as a machinist at Dorwards clothing factory in Galashiels for 10 years after the family moved to Newtown in 1966.

Her husband died in 1980, aged 67, and in 1996 Nellie moved to Denholm to be nearer to her daughter and son-in- law Isobel and John Sinton, of Minto, who she later lived with for three years abefore moving to Knowesouth a year ago.

Isobel said: “Nellie’s family has always been her main interest, and she has been a homemaker for almost all of her life.

“She was a member of a Scottish dancing team when she was young and later enjoyed gardening and walking.

“She’s amazing for her age and still enjoys a good conversation about the old days and remembers details like how her grandfather used to drive her to church in his horse-drawn cart.

“The staff at Knowesouth have been very obliging and have arranged for us to use a room there for a family party on her birthday.

“They are also organising their own tea party for her to celebrate with other residents.”

Nellie celebrated on Saturday with her granddaughters Pam Cranston, Dawn Edgar, and her six great-grandchildren William, Max and Charlie Cranston and Emily, Alex, and Tom Edgar.

The celebrations also included a tea party on Friday for Nellie to mark the occasion alongside other residents and staff.

Knowesouth deputy manager Rhona Stewart added: “Nellie is quite a character and, although she sometimes forgets recent events, her long-term memory is very good.

“She has lots of fascinating tales to tell about what life was like in her younger days.”