A PARTY has been held to celebrate the 100th birthday of retired mechanic and publican Tommy Low.
Tommy was born on February 22, 1916 to Edward Daly Low and Agnes Kirkwood. The single child was raised in a flat in Portobello High Street and attended Portobello High School until he was 14.
When he was seven, he was struck by a snowball containing a stone and needed an operation.
After leaving school, Tommy started working in a foundry operating a steam hammer.
At 16, he became an apprentice with the Scottish Motor Traction (SMT) bus company. He trained alongside a mechanic, becoming adept at overhauling and replacing engines.
After five years there, Tommy qualified as a journeyman and was then transferred to the SMT’s car department in Roseburn.
He met his wife-to-be, Raye, at a Christmas party in 1938 and they married two years later.
Their early years together looked set to be interrupted by war duty, but his call-up papers were cancelled not long after he received them.
Instead, he was transferred to Manchester as an essential worker for the Reserve Occupation, supervising eight women who operated machines that made parts for the RN Submarines.
Raye followed him to Manchester, but life there wasn’t entirely happy for the couple; they often endured unpleasant moments when other residents criticised Tommy for not fighting on the front-line.
After the war, they returned to Edinburgh and launched a number of businesses together, including a newsagents in Morningside.
Tommy also worked as a golf club steward, a chauffeur for the Scottish & Newcastle brewery and as a publican.
Together, Tommy and Raye ran The Doctors near the old Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and the Green Tree in Tynecastle.
They lived in various places across the city, including Mount Pleasance, Tynecastle and Carrick Knowe.
Tommy began taking computer lessons in 2004 to help his communication with Raye, who by then was profoundly deaf.
Raye died just a few months short of the couple’s 70th anniversary.
The couple didn’t have children, but Tommy keeps in touch with his cousin Dorothy from Falkirk and has relatives in Canada and Australia.
Tommy now lives at the Bields Housing complex in Corstorphine, where he celebrated his 100th birthday on Monday with a party attended by Deputy Lord Provost Steve Cardownie.
The Hearts supporter was given a special number 100 shirt by the club.