Lily Kerr celebrates 100th birthday

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LILY Kerr celebrated her 100th birthday on December 11 and enjoyed a family party yesterday.

Born Lily Hamilton in Dundee on December 11, 1913, she lived in Thornton, Fife, and attended schools there.

At the age of 12, she moved to Royal Park Place in Meadowbank and finished her education at Broughton Secondary School, where she attained her Higher Leaving Certificate, excelling in English and French.

In those days, university was rarely an option for women and Lily went to work as a clerkess/manageress in a fruit and vegetable shop in Hanover Street.

She became engaged to her childhood sweetheart, Richard Kerr, and in the two years before they married could be often seen taking their tandem on the train to Fort William to cycle round Wester Ross and Sutherland, places she still loves to this day.

They married in 1936 and lived in Portobello, moving to Penicuik in 1938, where their four children – Robin, Elanar, Jennifer and Alison – were born.

In 1959, the family moved to Burdiehouse Road, and Lily enrolled in the Civil Defence Voluntary Organisation.

She and Richard kept up their outdoor interests by walking the Pentlands and nearby hills. Lily also joined Liberton Bowling Club.

Richard died suddenly in 1979 – Lily’s bowling friends rallied round and she immersed herself in the sport. She became a well-known figure in the city’s bowling circles. She was nine times ladies champion, first in 1966 and the last in 1992.

She was also the Steel Trophy Winner (the ladies champion of champions award) in 1984.

She became president and vice-president of Liberton Bowling club and president of the Edinburgh Association. She also played at the Milton Street indoor bowling club until that was closed.

Lily was one of the first residents to move into the private retirement housing at Liberton Park Court, off Lasswade Road, 28 years ago, and still lives there independently.

Fay Evans, manager with Bield Housing, which oversees the complex, said: “All that time, Lily has looked after the little triangle of garden outside her house and it’s kept beautifully. There are flowers in it all year round.

“Last week, her fellow residents marked her 100th birthday by presenting her with a plaque saying ‘Lily’s Garden 11-12-13’.”

Yesterday, Lily celebrated her birthday with the family, who
know her as “The Wonderful Woman”.

She has nine grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Son Robin died in 1985.

Daughter Jennifer, her husband and daughter and family live in Australia. However, her other two daughters and their families helped Lily mark her centenary.