Travelling gran Elizabeth Reid Fernback celebrates 100th birthday

Elizabeth Fernback celebrates with friends and family. Picture: contributed
Elizabeth Fernback celebrates with friends and family. Picture: contributed
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A GREAT-grandmother who loves travelling and gardening has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Elizabeth Reid Fernback, known affectionately to her family as Granny Betty, reached the milestone yesterday.

The 100-year-old has lived in Edinburgh her whole life, and has been an avid reader of the Evening News for as long as her family can remember.

Elizabeth was the daughter of John and Susan Fernback, and was the eldest of four siblings.

She was born on April 27, 1916 at Lorne Street, Leith, and attended Lorne Street Primary School for a short time.

Sadly, she suffered a childhood illness and had to be moved to Leith Academy after missing some of her education.

When she left school at the age of 15, Elizabeth enrolled herself in a further education course, learning administration skills, shorthand and typing.

She continued to live in Lorne Street until she married her husband, George Robertson, in 1939.

Elizabeth met George when she was just 16 and working in her first job at an office on York Place. George was 19 and worked as an architect in the office.

The couple married on June 17, 1939 at Liberton Church and moved into their first home together in Southhouse Avenue.

Their first son, George, was born on September 18, 1942, but tragically he contracted meningitis and died just 18 months later, leaving Elizabeth and her husband distraught.

But on October 23, 1944 positive news followed when second son Ian was born, and their family was complete on October 3, 1946 when their daughter, Joan, came along.

It wasn’t long before the family of four moved to a bigger property in Broomieknowe, Lasswade, but decided to move again shortly after to a house in Liberton Brae.

After having children, Elizabeth continued her working career in various legal offices in the city.

She had a short period working in Edinburgh Law County and her final employment was as a secretary to the director of drainage at Lothian Regional Council.

Elizabeth’s grandson, David Edgar, said his grandmother has always been busy with her hobbies – which she believes has played a big part in keeping her “young and active”. Her favourite activities are sewing, gardening, cooking, playing bowls and going on holiday.

On Saturday, Elizabeth received her telegram from the Queen surrounded by her friends and family who gathered to celebrate her birthday. Sadly, husband George passed away in 1984.

Elizabeth, who has five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, shares her birthday with her great-granddaughter, Eva, who turned eight yesterday.