Real Lives: ‘Porridge and hard work’ behind Bella’s 105 years

Bella Jones celebrates her 105th birthday with West Lothian provost Tom Kerr and George McNiell.
Bella Jones celebrates her 105th birthday with West Lothian provost Tom Kerr and George McNiell.
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Armadale woman Bella Jones has been celebrating a remarkable achievement, after being joined by friends and family to mark her 105th birthday.

The landmark anniversary means there is now an incredible 101 years difference between Bella and her youngest great-great-grandchild.

She was born in Springburn, Glasgow, but her father moved through to work in the Armadale brickworks when she was a young child.

And, apart from a brief spell when she lived in England, Bella has stayed all her adult life in Armadale.

With four sisters and five brothers, she was never short of company. And she has carried that great love of being with family and friends throughout her life.

She met her husband Ernie in Edinburgh, where he was working in a jewellers and the pair were married in the Capital in 1933.

They later moved to Hove briefly, before returning to Armadale, where Bella worked as a domestic servant for a lord and lady, and had two sons.

Bella, who now has four grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren, loves knitting and playing dominoes.

She said her secret for a long and healthy life was “porridge and hard work”.

Granddaughter Jennifer Jones said Bella had always been very focused on the present, something which had helped her cope with the huge changes she saw in her lifetime.

“It is a completely different world today, but she’s got a typical British stiff upper lip, so she has always just got on with life,” she said.

“She doesn’t really reminisce much, she is very focused on the present, and while she’ll admit that some of the world today is quite confusing she never lets it bother her.”

Bella was also very independent, and lived in her own house until eight years ago when she moved into sheltered accommodation at Colinshiel Court.

On her birthday she was thrilled to received a visit from Provost Tom Kerr and the Deputy Lieutenant of West Lothian, George McNeill, and also enjoyed a party with family and friends.

Her granddaughter said: “It was like a revolving door there were so many people coming to see her, and it was so nice to celebrate her birthday with such a special day.”