Bo'ness woman credits laughter and cake as she gets set to hit 100

A pensioner who turns 100 next week believes having a sense of humour and a slice of coffee walnut cake every day is the secret to longevity.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 6:00 am
Eleanor Petrie, who resides at Bield's Dean Court in Bo’ness, has been reminiscing on her life ahead of her 100th birthday.

Eleanor Petrie, who resides at Bield’s Dean Court in Bo’ness, has begun reminiscing on her life experiences ahead of the big day on April 20 - with no regrets about how she has spent her 100 years.

Born in 1921, Eleanor was raised in Newcastle with three siblings and was passionate about poetry; reeling off hundreds of poems to this day.

She left school at the age of 14 - which back then was the school leaving age - and went into service, working in an engineering factory as WWII loomed, before she was transferred to the Rolls Royce factory in Solihull.

Harry and Eleanor Petrie.

During her time at Rolls Royce, Eleanor helped produce engine parts for fighter planes before moving to the Navy Army and Air Food Institutes [NAAFI] at Catterick Garrison, catering to brave men who received military training before going to war.

Eleanor met her husband while serving for NAAFI at a social event when she was asked to dance by a ‘handsome, red haired young Scot’ – a moment she proudly claims to be the best of her life.

At the end of the evening the band were playing a popular song of the time ‘Who’s taking you home tonight’ and cheekily Eleanor said “You, if you like!”

The young man, Harry Petrie, was posted to Africa for four years during which time they became engaged by ‘snail mail’ and married on New Year’s Day after he returned from Africa in 1946.

The couple went on to have two daughters and one grandchild, and were happily married for 49 years before husband Harry passed just a few weeks short of their golden anniversary.

Eleanor’s daughter Elaine Dixon has pulled together a plan A and plan B for the birthday celebrations.

Elaine said: “My mum has lived an extremely interesting life and it has been lovely to go back through some of her favourite memories as we approach this milestone birthday.

“It has been an adventurous life, full of happy memories, and plenty of learning experiences which she has now passed down to the rest of the family.

“She has always said the secret to a long and happy life is a sense of humour and some coffee walnut cake.”

Eleanor keeps her mind alert with her addiction to TV shows, and until recently an obsession with puzzle books, now curtailed by fading sight.

Her mobility is now severely hindered, however, she does not dwell on her limitations but rather she enjoys the things she can do.

Alison Lowe, Development Manager at Dean Court said: “We all can’t wait to watch Eleanor turn 100, it’s such a monumental achievement.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this significant occasion in her life and hope Eleanor enjoys the wonderful celebrations that come with it throughout the year.

“She’s so much younger than her years – always up for a bit of fun and loves to socialise in more normal times so maybe that’s the secret to having a long healthy life.”