Bo'ness resident has had her cake and eaten it for 100 years

A care home resident who celebrates her 100 birthday next week will want her cake to be coffee and walnut because that’s what she claims is the secret to her long life.

Monday, 12th April 2021, 12:47 pm

Eleanor Petrie (99), who lives at Bield’s Dean Court residential care home in Bo’ness, says she has no regrets about how she spent her century on Earth.

She is looking forward to celebrating her big birthday on Tuesday, April 20 surrounded – at a safe social distance – by with her family, friends and staff at Dean Court.

Even though her mobility is now severely hindered in her advanced years, she does not dwell on her limitations – instead enjoying all the things she can do.

Eleanor Petrie will celebrate her 100th birthday on Tuesday, April 20

She keeps her mind alert with her “addiction” to TV shows, and, until recently, an obsession with puzzle books which she has had to curtail due to her fading eyesight.

Alison Lowe, Dean Court development manager, said: “We all can’t wait to watch Eleanor turn 100, it’s such a monumental achievement. We are thrilled to be a part of this significant occasion in her life and hope she enjoys the wonderful celebrations that come with it throughout the year.

“She’s so much younger than her years – always up for a bit of fun and loved to socialise in more normal times, so maybe that’s the secret to having a long healthy life.”

Eleanor, however, claims the secret of her long life is actually her fondness for a slice of coffee walnut cake.

Eleanor and Harry Petrie were married for 49 years

Born in 1921 and raised in Newcastle with three siblings, Eleanor was passionate about poetry and can still recite hundreds of poems.

She left school at 14 and went into service, working in an engineering factory as World War II loomed, before she was transferred to the Rolls Royce factory in Solihull, in the West Midlands.

During her time at the factory, Eleanor helped produce engine parts to keep fighter planes flying before moving to the Navy, Army and Air Food Institutes [NAAFI] at Catterick Garrison, catering to brave men who received military training before going to war.

Eleanor met her husband while serving for NAAFI at a social event when she was asked to dance by a “handsome, red haired young Scot” – a moment she proudly claims to be the best of her life.

Eleanor, who was born in 1921, helped build parts for aircraft during World War II

At the end of the evening the band were playing a popular song of the time, Who’s Taking You Home Tonight, and cheeky Eleanor told her new fella “you, if you like”.

Her new love Harry Petrie was posted to Africa for four years during which time they became engaged via mail and were later married on New Year’s Day after he returned from Africa in 1946.

The couple went on to have two daughters and one grandchild, and were happily married for 49 years before Harry passed just a few weeks short of their golden wedding anniversary.

Elaine Dixon, Eleanor’s daughter, said: “It has been lovely to go back through some of her favourite memories. It’s been an adventurous life, full of happy memories, and plenty of experiences which she has now passed down to the rest of the family.

"She has always said the secret to a long and happy life is a sense of humour and some coffee walnut cake.”