Real Lives: Chloe has worked her way to 100th birthday

Josephine 'Chloe' Dunnett
Josephine 'Chloe' Dunnett
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LONG life is in the genes for centenarian Josephine ‘Chloe’ Dunnett, who celebrated her 100th birthday on Sunday.

Chloe is one of ten children – nine girls and one boy – many of whom lived into their 80s and 90s.

And yesterday she was joined by friends and family for a surprise meal at the Marine Hotel in North Berwick to celebrate her century.

Her daughter Helen Armstrong, 71, from Eskbank in Dalkeith, said: “I think it’s in the genes.

“Her sister, Hilda, lived to 104. She is one of ten and several of them lived to a ripe old age.

“She’s active, still lives on her own and does everything herself.”

Chloe, a great grandmother who stays in Eskbank, was a volunteer for more than 20 years at the St Columba’s Hospice charity shop in Leith Walk.

The hospice had cared for her husband John, known as Jack, before he died from cancer.

Daughter-in-law Christine Dunnett, 62, of Uphall, explained: “Jack spent his last days, 20-plus years ago, in the hospice and that’s how she started.

“She’s a one-off and will do anything for anybody.

“I work with children and even now she will knit little things for the kids.

“Even when she worked in the hospice shop she made little cosies for the dolls that were sold in the shop.

“She would do anything for a good cause – she went to the charity shop in all weathers, taking two buses and it was all purely voluntary.

“She keeps herself busy and still makes marmalade and Mars bar cakes. She’s determined and a very fit and active lady.

“She’s just fantastic, with a strong will and they don’t make them like that any more.

“You couldn’t ask for a nicer mother-in-law.”

Chloe was born in Nottingham in 1912 to parents Joseph and Annie. She married Jack in 1939 and, after a short spell living in London, the couple moved to Edinburgh in 1953.

Christine told the Evening News that her mother-in-law has a passion for owls and that her home was full of owl trinkets.

So, as part of her birthday treat, Chloe was taken to the falconry at Dalhousie on Saturday.

Son John, 65, put his mum’s longevity down to being a good worker.

He said: “She has always worked, even when she was young and worked in a shop the family had at that time.

“She has always kept herself busy and when my father died she volunteered.”