Katie may be old but she’s still gold

Katie Anderson celebrates her 105th birthday. Picture: Complimentary
Katie Anderson celebrates her 105th birthday. Picture: Complimentary
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Katie Anderson, one of Edinburgh’s oldest residents, has celebrated her 105th birthday.

The great grandmother, formally of Roseburn and who now lives in Corstorphine, toasted the milestone occasion at a party with family and friends.

Katie Anderson nee MacLeod was born October 1908 in a thatched cottage at Backhill, Berneray, North Uist, to father Roderick Donald MacLeod, a veteran of the Boer War, and mother Effie.

Katie had three sisters - Peggy, Maryanne, Chrissie and a brother, Finlay, who was a minister in the Church of Scotland.

She came to Edinburgh at the age of 18 to work as a table maid for Maisie and Walter Mercer, the eminent surgeon and his wife.

She was in charge of the dining room and occasionally did some cooking and standing in for the doctor’s secretary when she was away.

Walter later became President of the Royal College of Surgeons and was knighted by the Queen in 1956.

Katie was very fond of them both and they were very good to her.

She married George Anderson in 1935. When World War II broke out, George volunteered for the forces. Katie went back to Berneray with her 18-month-old first child and stayed there until her husband came back to Edinburgh, badly shell-shocked.

There was no help for that kind of problem then – he still had to serve some time in the Home Guard and they, like everyone else who had been through the war, had to get on with life the best way they could.

The couple had two daughters, Rhoda and Betty.

George Anderson who died of cancer more than 30 years ago at of 78. Katie now has five grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Her friendship with the Mercer family continued after the war and she would help with dinner parties.

She also worked for some years as supervisor of cleaning and repairs at the Lansdowne School for Girls.

At 101-years-old, Katie appeared in a television documentary about Gaelic poet Iain Archie MacAskill, Tilleadh Dhachaidh: Returning Home. Katie came forward to share her memories of the writer on Berneray, North Uist, and provided an account of the time leading up to Mr MacAskill’s emigration to Australia. A member of Murrayfield Parish Church, Katie, who remained in her own home until this year, now lives in the Tor Christian Nursing Home on Corstorphine Road.

On October 11 she celebrated her 105th birthday surrounded by friends and family.

Her daughter Rhoda, 76, from Corstorphine, said: “My mother is a very home loving, caring person.

“She’s kind to everyone and she’s very religious. And she’s very independent – she’s quite amazing really.”

The family would like to thank the management and staff for all their care and kindness.