Florence celebrates 100 years with Rothesay party

Florence Lee celebrating her 100th birthday with her son, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and her in-laws.
Florence Lee celebrating her 100th birthday with her son, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and her in-laws.

A Rothesay resident marked a special milestone last month - celebrating her 100th birthday.

Florence Lee, nee MacKinnon, who celebrated with a small gathering of family and neighbours on her birthday, July 30, spent most of her life in Glasgow and then the south of England, before moving to Bute 30 years ago.

Florence and Ron on their wedding day in 1942.

Florence and Ron on their wedding day in 1942.

She was born in Scotstoun in 1917, and attended the Hyndland School in the West End of Glasgow.

From there she went to work in a gown shop, before joining a factory making precision tools in Anniesland.

Florence said: “I liked that work, because you had to be very precise, working to millimetres and things like that.

“I worked there when war broke out and it got very difficult with long shifts.

Florence in her Rothesay home with her son Alan and daughter-in-law Cath.

Florence in her Rothesay home with her son Alan and daughter-in-law Cath.

“We would work from eight in the morning to eight at night.

“It was a case of waking up and going to work, then getting home and having something to eat then going straight to bed.

“After the war the shifts gradually got shorter.”

She met Englishman Ron Lee at a dance they both attended in Glasgow, when he was a chauffeur.

Another picture of Florence and Ron, at an unknown time.

Another picture of Florence and Ron, at an unknown time.

They married in 1942 and moved to Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, and their only son Alan was born in Rochford two years later.

Florence was a keen cyclist and traveller, visiting New Zealand five times when she was younger.

She said she loved living by the sea in Essex, and that was one factor in her moving to Bute when Ron died in the early 1970s.

She said: “My siblings and I used to come here in the school holidays when our parents would rent an apartment.

“Much later my sister Isabel was living here with her husband Hamish Maxwell, and after Ron died I moved up here as well.

“I’ve always liked being by the sea, and in better days I would walk down the front into town.

“Maybe one of these days I will get the old walking stick out again!”

Alan and his wife Cath visit Florence every few weeks, and organised the small party for her 100th birthday.

They have two children themselves and two grandchildren, all of whom came to Rothesay for Florence’s celebration.

Alan said: “It’s hard to believe she was alive when the first world war was still going.

“It was a completely different world then.”

Cath said: “Flor’s weakness has always been fruit cake, she would sell her soul for some fruitcake.”

Florence agreed: “Cath always makes me a Christmas pudding, and the best part of Christmas is when I can sit and have it to myself!”