The remarkable Lizzie dies at 105

Elizabeth Laidlaw has died at the age iof 105. Picture: Dan Phillips

Elizabeth Laidlaw has died at the age iof 105. Picture: Dan Phillips

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ONE of the oldest women in Scotland has died peacefully and surrounded by family at the age of 105.

Elizabeth Laidlaw, who lived through both world wars, had become a regular in the Evening News’ Real Lives section after she passed the century milestone.

She was born on August 13, 1910 when George V was on the throne and an aeroplane carried three passengers for the first time.

Miss Laidlaw, who lived at Camilla House Care Home for the last nine years, died there last Wednesday.

Niece Hannah Lafferty, from Dunfermline, described her aunt as a “quiet and restrained person” who enjoyed life.

She said: “She was a people-watcher and loved to be in the middle of whatever was going on. She never seemed to get stressed about anything and had looked after her parents.

“We will all miss her and her attitude to life. She never had a bad word for anybody.”

Miss Laidlaw grew up at Hope Park Terrace, off Clerk Street, with parents Hannah and Andrew Laidlaw 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 1940s, she left the job to care for her parents, with whom she still lived, by then 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.

Callum O’Donnell, activities coordinator at the care home, said: “What a character. What I remember most is her singing.

“She would sit and sing for an hour – all the old songs. She used to make us laugh.

“Lizzie always finished with the National Anthem but she was so old she used to sometimes forget that there is now a Queen on the throne and would sing God Save the King instead.

“She was a great singer and entertained everyone. She loved her teddy bears and had one which was almost as big as she was. She had a great sense of humour and when she cracked a joke she would always wink.”

Staff and family gathered in the home last month for her birthday celebrations which included a cake, a piper and a harpist.

Miss Laidlaw, who never married, revealed the secret of her long and happy life was to take life as it comes. 
The 105-year-old never smoked though she had enjoyed a very occasional glass of sherry.

She is also the care home’s most senior resident and in fact was the only one aged over the 100 mark. Her fellow residents had been amazed by her energy, and described her as “very sprightly for her age”.

john.connell@edinburghnews.com