Golden girl Bridget, 106, has great spirit

Bridget Lavelle. Pic: Comp
Bridget Lavelle. Pic: Comp
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A GREAT-great grandmother celebrating her 106th birthday has put her longevity down to “hard work and a wee dram every now and again”.

Bridget Lavelle, who was born in Ireland, moved to Scotland when she was aged 15.

Now living in Wilkieston, West Lothian, she first met her husband, Thadeus, when they were working together on a potato farm.

The couple lived in Hermiston and Mid Calder before moving to Wilkieston in 1952 with their six children Tony, Mary-Ann, Thady, Anne, Peter and Catherine.

Bridget worked for a time at the RAF base in Kirknewton before she was given a position in the kitchen at the Lindburn Centre for the War Blinded, where she remained until her late retirement at the age of 74.

She is now cared for by son Tony and daughter Anne.

Daughter Anne Clason, 77, who lives in East Calder, said: “She’s never lost her accent and would still make a regular annual visit to her relatives in Ireland up until around ten or 12 years ago, but now generally her cousins, nieces and nephews will come to visit her.

“That’s not to say she can’t still get about. I had a hip replacement a while ago so my mum can out-go me sometimes.

“She’s always been very hard-working and very active, though she’s slowed down a little since she turned 100.

“She still very much rules the roost and still has a very strong voice for someone of her age – you have no problems hearing her. She also hasn’t lost her appetite like some older folks do. But she’s very easy to care for, basically no trouble at all.”

A family party attended by some of Bridget’s 16 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren, took place at her home on Tuesday of last week.

Also present at the bash was West Lothian’s depute provost, Dave King.

He said: “It was a real privilege to visit Mrs Lavelle on her 106th birthday and to convey the best wishes of West Lothian Council on achieving this remarkable milestone.

“It’s been my pleasure to have known her personally for over 30 years and she truly is an incredible woman.

“Mrs Lavelle is well known and much loved locally and it was an honour to be invited to join her and her family and share their special day.”

And it looks like longevity may run in the family.

Anne, who said her mother “absolutely loved” her party, explained: “My mother’s mother lived to be 97 so it’s probably not surprising that my mum has lasted this long.

“However, there’s also longevity on my dad’s side of the family.

“My grandmother on that side lived to be in her late 90s and an aunt on my father’s side lived to be 102.

“So it looks like we might be around for a while as well.”