Linlithgow woman celebrates 103rd birthday

Provost Tom Kerr helps Barbara celebrate her 103rd birthday. Picture: Contributed
Provost Tom Kerr helps Barbara celebrate her 103rd birthday. Picture: Contributed
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A FORMER printer has continued her family’s run of longevity by celebrating her 103rd birthday.

Barbara Ballantine, who lives in Linlithgow, brought up the milestone on July 5 – just two days before Scot Andy Murray would carve out his own slice of history by winning the Wimbledon crown.

The occasion reflects a running trend in Barbara’s family. Her late mother lived until the grand age of 101 and her younger sister is also a year away from bringing up her own 100th birthday.

Barbara was born on July 5, 1910, in Stockport into a family of five sisters.

Her chosen career was printing – an industry where her claim to fame would be in making the gold leaf and binding of the Role of Remembrance in the war memorial in her home town.

Three copies were made, with two kept in Stockport and the third given to Barbara as a keepsake.

The printer’s working career came to a halt after marrying first husband Tom Barrett, with the couple having a son, David.

Following her husband’s death, Barbara would later meet and marry Tom Ballantine, with the pair moving to Mill Road, Linlithgow Bridge, in 1986.

Barbara become a member of the Golden Oldies, Linlithgow Link, the 100 Club and the Lunch Club during almost three decades in the West Lothian town.

Tom passed away nine years ago, prompting his wife to later move into Linlithgow Nursing Home on St Ninian’s Road in 2009.

She still enjoys singing, watching Songs of Praise and taking part in the entertainment provided by the care home.

Son David, who lives in Eastbourne, East Sussex, but visits his mother every month, said: “My mother is now the oldest in the care home and still going strong. She enjoys singing songs like All Things Bright and Beautiful and she loved her birthday party and seeing all the family.”

Murray’s achievement in becoming the first Briton to win the Wimbledon men’s singles title in 77 years did not escape Barbara’s notice.

She was just 26 years old when Fred Perry, who also hailed from her home town of Stockport, lifted the famous trophy in 1936 as the previous British men’s winner.

David said: “She has kept better this year and she always likes an Oliphants cream cake. She also enjoys her tennis and she was pleased with Andy’s win.”

Barbara has three grandchildren – Susan, Gareth and Michael. She also has four great grandchildren in Amelia, six, Rose, five, two-year-old Francesca and the recent addition of three-week-old Amy.

David organised a special party at the HC-One care home to celebrate his mother’s landmark birthday.

West Lothian Provost Tom Kerr was a guest of honour, having also been on hand to celebrate her turning 102 last year.