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Scotland’s oldest woman credits porridge diet

Oldest Scot:  Jessie Gallan. Picture: HeMedia

Oldest Scot: Jessie Gallan. Picture: HeMedia

SCOTLAND’S oldest woman has celebrated her 108th birthday - crediting her long life to a daily bowl of porridge.

Pensioner Jessie Gallan became Scotland’s oldest woman following the death of Clare Dawson, of Glasgow, in June last year at the age of 109.

And she celebrated her 108th birthday on 2 January at the Crosby House care home in Aberdeen with a birthday lunch and a slice of cake.

Ms Gallan took the milestone in her stride, insisting: “Ach, I’ve never known any different.” And she continued: “All I would say is that I like my porridge. I have all my life.”

She was born in 1906 in a two-room cottage on a farm near Kintore where she recalled sleeping top to tail with her five sisters and one brother on a “chaff” bed.

“My mother fed us, made all our clothes and my father worked the cattle,” she said. “There was nothing to worry about. I never worried about anything. We never had any money but we were all very happy.”

Ms Gillan left school to work in a farm kitchen but later left rural Aberdeenshire to take up a housemaid’s job at the home of a wealthy businessman in Gray Street, Aberdeen. She then worked at the Lauriston Hotel in Ballater, where the arrival of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was the highlight of the season.

Gillian Bennett, a senior support worker at Crosby House, said: “Jessie is a lovely woman. She likes her music and likes her exercise class and is a very independent person. She is always walking about.”

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