Nellie Thomson

Since the days when her transport was a horse-drawn cart, Nellie Thomson has witnessed an amazing advance in technology bringing supercars, satellites and spaceships with landings on the moon and mars.

She has survived two world wars, lived through the reign of four British monarchs and the government of 19 different Prime Ministers from David Lloyd George to Theresa May.

But while the world has changed dramatically since she was born in 1917, Nellie’s role at the heart of family life has remained steadfast.

And she will be surrounded by three generations of her family when they throw a party at Knowesouth Care Centre near Jedburgh to celebrate her 100th birthday on Saturday April 8.

Staff at Knowesouth, where Nellie has lived since last year, also plan a tea party to help her celebrate with other residents on the day before her birthday.

Nellie was born and brought up in Blainslie, where she lived for 50 years, and left school as a young teenager to care for her father and eight siblings following the death of her mother, aged 49.

She married William in 1940 but World War II meant the couple were forced to live apart for five years when he served in the army’s Lancashire Regiment in Germany and France while Nellie worked at Charlesfield Munitions Factory, St Boswalds, making incendiary bombs.

The couple had a daughter Isobel and while William worked as a stonemason for the Scottish Borders council, Nellie spent around 10 years as a dinner lady at Blainslie’s primary school.

She later worked as a machinist at Dorward’s clothing factory, Galashiels, for 10 years after the family moved to Newtown in 1966.

Her husband died in 1980, aged 67, and in 1996 Nellie moved to Denholm to be nearer to her daughter and son-in-law Isobel and John Sinton, of Minto, who will be among guests helping her celebrate her milestone birthday.

There will also be greetings and gifts from Nellie’s granddaughters Pam Cranston, Dawn Edgar, and her six great-grandchildren William, Max and Charlie Cranston and Emily, Alex, and Tom Edgar.

Isobel said: “Nellie’s family has always been her main interest and she has been a homemaker for almost all of her life.

“She was a member of a Scottish dancing team when she was young and later enjoyed gardening and walking. She’s amazing for her age and still enjoys a good conversation about the old days and remembers details like how her grandfather used to drive her to church in his horse-drawn cart.”

Nellie lived with Isobel and John for three years before moving to Knowesouth a year ago.

Isobel said: “The staff at Knowesouth have been very obliging and have arranged for us to use a room there for a family party on her birthday. They are also organising their own tea party for her to celebrate with other residents.”.

Knowesouth deputy manager Rhona Stewart said: “Nellie is quite a character and, although she sometimes forgets recent events, her long-term memory is very good. She has lots of fascinating tales to tell about what life was like in her younger days.”

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