Bicentennial Birthday For Local Golden Girls

by Ross Stebbing

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

05 MAR Hillview Birthday 1A Clydebank care home hosted a double milestone celebration last week – with two of its residents marking their 100thbirthdays.

Catherine Smith and Mary (Maimie) Gray received a visit from the Lord Provost and Deputy Officer – while also celebrating with a party at Bupa’s Hillview Care Home where they both live.

Maimie was born in Clydebank while Catherine was born in Glasgow, with both spending their combined 200 years living within the area.

When asked for the secret for longevity, Maimie insisted that her dedication to her family is the one thing which has kept her young and alert throughout the years. In 2014 at the age of 98, she managed to attend her grandson’s wedding in Glencoe, having arrived there by coach.

However, Catherine attributes her favourite drink, Advocaat, as one of the keys to a long and prosperous life.

Graham Kelly, home manager at Bupa’s Hillview, said all staff and residents were delighted to see the women reach their historic birthday – as well as being inspired by their life stories.

He said: “It was a fantastic achievement for both ladies, and we hope they had a great week of celebration.

“We worked hard at Hillview to make sure they had the perfect birthday – and we were grateful to the Provost for visiting.

“It just goes to show you can still be 100 and live a happy and fulfilling life – the perfect example of this was when Maimie travelled by coach to attend her grandson’s wedding.

“It’s very inspiring to hear their life stories, what they have achieved and how they still live their life to the full.”

Maimie was born Mary Routledge on February 28 1915, in Clydebank, and grew up alongside her two older brothers, Bill and Bert.

She attended Radnorpark School and then went on to spend her teen years at Clydebank High School.

Her first job was in Singer’s Sewing machine factory in Clydebank – before she then moved on to Barr and Strouds in Glasgow where she was an optical inspector.

It was here she met her husband Jack Gray – whom she married in 1943, and they later had a daughter (Betty) in 1950.

Maimie remained in her own home until 2007, when she suffered a stroke and since lived at Bupa’s Hillview Care Home.

Her hobbies in her earlier years included reading, baking, watch (all) sports and holidaying with her close family (one daughter, a son in law, one grandson and one granddaughter).

By contrast, Catherine was born two days earlier on the 26  February 1915 – growing up on Langside Road, in Govan Hill.

Catherine’s first stint in the working world was as a clerkess for a Glasgow company.

She then went on to wed her husband, Jim Smith, in March 1951 who sadly died in April 1998.

Interestingly, Jim was a Master Baker and ran a family bakery in Govan Hill, taking over from his father.

Later in life Catherine dedicated her time to care for others, involving herself heavily in Arthritis Care, working as volunteer for 30 years.

Every year without fail she would take her clients to Largs for a week in her dedication to making sure others had a holiday. Since developing ill health when she was 90 Catherine herself has been looked for the past year at Hillview Care Home

She also spent a lot of her later years dedicating her time to her sister who was house-bound

She has always been a non smoker – but admits to Advocaat as one of her guilty pleasures – and potentially the secret to her long and prosperous life.

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Public rleations agency account executive Ross Stebbing

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As part of the expert PR team at a fast-paced Scottish public relations agency, Ross Stebbing works on diverse clients in sectors including film and media, construction, healthcare and logistics. While he delivers PR in Edinburgh, his results appear in newspapers, magazines and websites all across the UK and beyond.

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