Centenarian Maureen has them a-flutter

Maureen Anderson and jockey Emma Sayer. Picture: contributed
Maureen Anderson and jockey Emma Sayer. Picture: contributed
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MAUREEN Anderson has celebrated her 100th birthday in style by giving the bookies a bashing at Musselburgh Racecourse.

The centenarian, from North Berwick, has had a lifelong interest in horses and told staff at her residential home, Fidra House, in the East Lothian town that she would love to pay her first visit to the course as part of her birthday celebration.

Racecourse staff rolled out the red carpet for the VIP, welcoming her as a special guest at the last jumps meeting of the season on
February 13.

Maureen was raised in Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland, and as the daughter of the country’s chief veterinary officer, John Whitty, she spent a lot of time around animals, especially horses.

Later, when raising her own family of four in Dorset, she and husband Hamish owned a small farm and she supported her daughters’ interest in steeplechase racing.

At Musselburgh, Maureen showed she still had an eye for the form book and selected three winners and a third place in the four races on which she placed bets.

Accompanied by daughter Claire MacCallum and Fidra House staff Alannah Grant and Helen Turner, Maureen watched the races from the owners and trainers’ enclosure and later met jockey Emma Sayer.

Mrs MacCallum said: “Everyone at the racecourse was so kind to my mother, she really had fantastic time and we can’t thank them enough.

“She showed she has not lost her touch and picked three winners out of four races, which was the icing on the cake.

“She always enjoyed an occasional bet and had direct line to our local bookmaker.

“One of the highlights was attending Ladies’ Day at Ascot, and my mother’s interest in horse racing has not diminished.”

Natalie Johnstone, Maureen’s care worker at Fidra House, said: “Maureen is a very, bubbly and chatty lady – very popular within the home.

“She really loves her horses and watches the racing a lot in her room.

“It was a bit of a surprise that she decided to put on the bet – but with three winners out of four, it was a lucky day for her.”

Her luck continued when Prestonpans taxi firm TT, on hearing of her 100th birthday celebrations, put on complimentary travel to and from the racecourse.

Maureen, whose birthday was on January 25, had earlier enjoyed a lunch with family and friends at the Marine Hotel in North Berwick.