Bo'ness woman celebrates her 100th birthday

A Bo’ness woman celebrated her 100th birthday last week, joined by her family to mark the milestone, as the country emerges from restrictions.
Agnes celebrated her milestone 100th birthday with her family.Agnes celebrated her milestone 100th birthday with her family.
Agnes celebrated her milestone 100th birthday with her family.

Agnes Sutherland Donaldson was born in Bo’ness on May 14, 1921, one of seven children, to Ainslie and Christina Donaldson. She attended Grange Primary School, where she was an active member of the school choir.

She tells the story where she was chosen as the Fair Queen but due to family financial difficulties she was not able to fulfill the role. She then continued her education at Bo’ness Academy.

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After leaving school, Agnes worked as an usherette in The Star picture house, then in Woolworths, and during the War she served her country by working at the “can factory” where Belgica now is.

Agnes’ passion was dancing, and it was there she met her husband, Joe Fleming. Agnes and Joe were married in 1943 and welcomed their only child, Alexander in 1945.

Joe unfortunately died in 1968 and afterwards Agnes became very quiet and withdrawn, until her son Alex’s wife Mary gave birth to her granddaughter Kirsty, whom Agnes doted on, and she soon bounced back to her former self. Agnes is now a very proud Great Granny to Kirsty and her husband Andrew’s children Lucy (7) and Matthew (3).

After living in Bo’ness all her life, a period of ill health resulted in Agnes having to move into Ivybank Care Home in Polmont in 2018. At first she was devastated to leave her home of many years but the staff have been “absolutely fantastic” and she soon settled into life there, regularly taking part in all of the planned activities.

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Agnes is well known for her cheery, upbeat nature and even during times of hardship or illness, she will always answer the question “how are you” with a big smile and “oh I’m fine”

On her 100th birthday last week her family were fortunate enough to be able to visit her at Ivybank and deliver her many cards and presents.

On opening her telegram from the Queen her first words were “well, she’s got more wrinkles than me” proving that she has never lost her spark or sense of humour.

Alex and family would like to thank the staff of Ivybank for everything they have done to ensure that Agnes survived this last year of lockdown with a smile on her face.

And they hope that, whatever the years ahead may throw at her, that she continues to live her life to the fullest, surrounded by caring staff and regular visits from “Ma boy” and the family.

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