ON reaching the impressive age of 105 a birthday girl might expect a day with her feet up... but May Porteous was put to work on her special occasion.

The great-grandmother took a seat at the piano to play Happy Birthday as her family sang in her honour.

And it is having family around her that Mrs Porteous credits for her outstanding longevity.

She was joined by her son, Tom Porteous, 71, and his wife Margaret, and her daughter Kath Roy, 74, and her husband Stuart, at Summerlee House care home in Coatbridge.

Her granddaughter Sarah was also there to help celebrate while Sheriff Robert Dickson, Deputy Lord-Lieutenant attended to represent the Queen, and Tom Castles, Depute Provost, represented North Lanarkshire Council.

Kath said: “Mum has always just said that she was lucky.

Evening Times:

“She never made a fuss and during the war they just had to get on with things, so I think that attitude has stayed with her.”

Stuart added: “She always had a wonderful sense of humour and there is still a glint in the eye and a twinkle there.

“Playing the piano has contributed as well.”

Mrs Porteous moved from her family home to Summerlee House just four years ago, living in her own home until the age of 101.

She was married in 1942 to Tom, who served in the RAF during the Second World War, and they had 40 years together before he died in 1982.

Music has always been a vital part of her life; she worked as a piano and singing teacher until the late 1970s when she gave up work to care for her husband.

Her son Tom said: “She has just been a wonderful, wonderful mother.

Evening Times:

“I have never ever, ever heard her say a bad word about anybody. She just didn’t do that. And I have never heard anyone say a bad word about her.

“I have never heard her angry. She is an open, friendly, decent person.

“She does have a great sense of humour.

“Her attitude to life is always ‘can do, will do, will try anything’.

“The music has been fantastic for her. 

“She was playing bridge until she was 99 and people wanted her there – her friends all offered to pick her up and take her.”

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Mrs Porteous, who has four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, is also said to like “the odd wee Bristol Cream sherry” and had a fondness for mystery novels, devouring two or three a week.

She said she remembered the outbreak of war as she was singing in her church choir when the minister interrupted the service to announce the news.

Mrs Porteous sang in the choir of Wellington Church, Hillhead, taking two trams – even during the blackouts – to make sure she never missed a service.

Her birthday card from the Queen reads: “What a splendid achievement! I send you my warm congratulations and best wishes for  your one hundred and  fifth birthday on 12th June, 2019.”