Edinburgh great-grandmother celebrates milestone 100th birthday

A great-grandmother from Edinburgh celebrated a milestone birthday with friends and family yesterday -  with porridge and an occasional dram part of her secret for a long life.

Friday, 9th August 2019, 7:37 pm
Updated Friday, 9th August 2019, 8:37 pm
Winnie Walker celebrated her 100th birthday on Friday.

Winnie Walker was born on 9 August 1919 in Leith, the daughter of former Hibs manager Davy Gordon and Sarah, a dressmaker, and attended the old Leith Academy until the age of 14.

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She met her husband Pete, a Hearts supporter, when she went dancing at Marine Gardens with some older girls she worked with at the time.

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An old picture of the couple.

“When I met my husband he was a hearts supporter so I didn’t dare tell him who my father was!” She laughed.

After leaving her job at Jenners, Winnie continued to teach dressmaking at night schools around Edinburgh.

At aged 20, Winnie and Pete got married.

She remembers: “My birthday was on August 9 and I got engaged then to my husband, and he had the cheek to join up to the forces on September 3 and went off to war.

“He came home for a week and we got married on October 28 but he had to leave again.”

In June 1940, Winnie’s husband Pete was left behind at Dunkirk and was taken as a prisoner of war.

She didn’t know for several months that he had been captured until receiving a letter from him in October that year.

“We sent each other letters every night,” Winnie said, “We like reading books, television is nothing, my husband was the same, so he used to sit in the corner and read.”

During the war, she was part of the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes which led her to Inverness and then Camberley in Surrey.

“When other people heard I was going down South, people said to my husband ‘you’ve lost her’, and he says ‘I haven’t lost her.’

Winnie then returned to Redford Barracks in Edinburgh, and was home when her husband was released in 1945.

In their 57 long and happy years together, before Pete passed, they had two daughters and one son.

Winnie is now a grandmother of four, and a great-grandmother of five and lives independently in the Craigentinny area.

Her daughter, Alice Walker, said: “I think the best thing is she’s never been isolated, she’s always out and her personality has meant she will always meet new people.”

Her secret to a long and happy life? Winnie gets up every day to make her own porridge, and once in a while enjoys a wee dram.