ELIZABETH Laidlaw, who was born before the outbreak of the First World War, has been joined by friends to celebrate her long life after she turned 104.
The landmark occasion was marked by a gigantic balloon, while fellow residents at the at Camilla House Care Home found they had to make their own “Happy Birthday” cards – as they couldn’t find any which properly suited a 104th birthday.
Miss Laidlaw celebrated her birthday on August 13, and Molly Smith, activities co-ordinator, said they had all ensured that such a landmark occasion was properly celebrated.
“We had an entertainer in and had a party with a cake – although not with 104 candles as we’d have set the whole of Edinburgh alight!”
Miss Laidlaw, known as Lizzie, also received gifts including 20 roses and a box of chocolates.
The 104-year-old grew up at Hope Park Terrace, off Clerk Street, with parents Hannah and Andrew Laidlaw, and siblings Agnes, Hannah, Sylvia, Janet and Sonny.
On leaving school she worked for Crawfords the Bakers on the Bridges, and then went to Baird the Bootmaker near Hunter Square, where she worked for several years.
In her late forties she left the job to care for her parents, with whom she still lived, by now in Livingstone Place.
After the death of her mother, she worked as a cleaner at various private houses, a job she continued to enjoy until she retired in her 80s.
She moved about eight years ago to the Grange-based care home , where her niece, Hannah Lafferty, said she was very happy.
Mrs Lafferty said her aunt had been devoted to her family throughout her life. “She’s a very quiet lady and mostly looked after family and wasn’t into going out partying, but would meet up with family. All the girls would meet together on Saturday afternoons and have a chat and a coffee.”
Ms Smith said: “She’s a real character – she likes singing and is always chatting away to people.
“She’s great company and loves sitting in the lounge. We did a nostalgia quiz recently and she was chuckling away at that.
“She’s also very independent and although her relatives live further afield she’s very much part of the family here.” She is also the care home’s most senior resident, and in fact the only one over 100, according to Ms Smith.
The care home’s deputy manager, Sarah Hambly, added: “She’s an amazing little lady.”
Ms Hambly said many of the other residents are amazed by her energy, and described her as “very sprightly for her age”.
“She’s very much has her own mind and is still very much in control of what she wants to happen,” she said.