Scottish Centenarian Reveals Her Secret to a Long Life

by Alicia Simpson

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Bupa care home hold celebration for Ruby Mathieson's 100th birthdaySCOTLAND’S newest centenarian has revealed the secret to her long life – a love of Scotland.

Robertina (Ruby) Mathieson, who celebrated her birthday at Bupa’s Wyndford Locks Care Home in Glasgow where she has lived for seven years, says she attributes her good health to long walks in the crisp Scottish air, a taste for traditional shortbread and regular holidays in the Highlands.

Contrary to the notion that Scots like a drink, however, Ruby has never touched alcohol throughout her long life, and also swears by not wearing make up to maintain her youthful appearance.

Ruby’s daughter, Rona, 59, told of her mother’s impressive longevity and love of all things Scottish.

Rona said: “Our family now live south of the border and I had suggested to my mum that we look into care homes closer to us, but she insisted that she wanted to stay in Glasgow as she would miss the Scottish accent too much.

“She has always been the outdoors type – walking is by far her favourite pastime and she often says that her secret to her long life is lots of fresh Scottish air. Even when she had a knee replacement in 1988, she was determined to keep on walking, and she did.

“She is also a huge fan of good food, and has a particular taste for quality shortbread and expensive biscuits and chocolate. I very rarely get phone calls but if her biscuit drawer is running low, she will be sure to let me know!

“Unsurprisingly, she makes the best shortbread and has passed her secret recipe down the family to myself and my daughters. Her recipe for caramel shortcake is also beyond compare.

“Despite being a lover of Scottish culture, she has never drank alcohol and finds even the idea of whisky absolutely disgusting. She has also never worn make up, not even on her wedding day. It has obviously done her well, as she looks fantastic at 100”

Born in 1916 in Dalmarnock, Ruby left school at the age of 14 to work in the dressmaking industry. She trained as a tailor throughout her teenage years and into her twenties, until the outbreak of the Second World War, when she then went to work in a munitions factory in Clydebank.

Ruby met her husband, John, when she was a member of the Girls’ Brigade Scotland and he was a member of the Boys’ Brigade. The happy couple married at Wellington Church on 10th August 1946, and Rona arrived in 1956.

As John worked for British Rail, the pair would often take advantage of the free travel allowance that was a perk of the job, and frequently took trips to the Scottish Highlands, where Ruby started her love of walking in the great outdoors.

Ruby and John spent a wonderful 60 years together, celebrating their Diamond wedding anniversary in 2006, before John sadly passed away in December of that year.

Alan Twigg, Home Manager at Bupa’s Wyndford Locks care home, said: “Everyone was delighted to help Ruby celebrate her big day.

“Ruby is such a pleasure to be around. She’s very lively and is popular with everyone who lives and works here.

“Her family, residents and staff had a fantastic time helping her celebrate with refreshments, party food and, of course, some shortbread.

“Turning 100 is such an incredible landmark and we’re all so happy for Ruby.”

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Private: Alicia Simpson

The profile and biography of public relations professional Alicia Simpson, a junior account executive with award-winning Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh.

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