Flora remains young at heart at age of 105

Flora Allam turns 105, joined by niece Sheila Lindores and  deputy lord lieutenant Anne Hogarth.
Flora Allam turns 105, joined by niece Sheila Lindores and deputy lord lieutenant Anne Hogarth.

One of the Borders’ oldest residents celebrated her 105th birthday this week, spending her milestone day in the company of family and friends.

Flora Allam, no stranger to royal congratulations since hitting her century in 2012, was treated to a celebratory tea party at Galashiels Nursing Home on Tuesday, complete with champagne and cake and a musical performance from Flora’s favourite singers, the Galashiels Golden Girls.

Flora Allam, 105, with her niece Sheila Lindores.

Flora Allam, 105, with her niece Sheila Lindores.

Born and brought up in Pollokshields, Glasgow, Flora married Dick, a professional photographer, and the couple moved to live near London for many years before returning to Glasgow.

It was in Glasgow that Flora saw out the Second World War working in a shop, while Dick served as a regimental sergeant major fighting at Dunkirk and later being held as a prisoner of war in Spandau Prison in Berlin.

When peace resumed, the couple were reunited, and Flora helped out in Dick’s photography studio.

After his death around 40 years ago, Flora moved in with her sister Ada Cowie in St Boswells, and the pair lived together as widows enjoying a quiet life in the village.

When Ada died 10 years ago, Flora remained in the village, living with her niece Sheila Lindores until last August, when she moved into the Kirk Brae nursing home.

And on Tuesday, the home’s conservatory resembled a flower shop as Flora received a steady stream of visitors, cards and gifts throughout the afternoon.

Among her visitors was the deputy lord-lieutenant of Roxburgh, Ettrick and Lauderdale, Anne Hogarth, of Galashiels, who presented Flora with her second card from Queen Elizabeth II and a telegram from UK Government Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke.

Mrs Hogarth said: “I have never met somebody who is 105 before.

“She is tremendous and looks remarkable. It certainly is a lovely occasion.”

Flora has lived through two world wars and witnessed countless historical events, huge advances in technology and dramatic changes across the world since she was born on October 3, 1912.

Still claiming to be 31 at heart, Flora said it had been “quite a day” and joked: “Somebody told me I was 105 earlier, so I never spoke to them again.”

Staff at the home suggested the secret to making 105 must be plenty of tea, adding that Flora never missed the tea trolley passing by.

Her surviving family includes her niece Sheila, one great-niece and great-nephew and a further three great-great-nephews and two great-great-nieces spread across Aberdeenshire and London.