Borders’ newest centenarian Joan celebrates with family and friends

Joan Graham turns 100 in Kelso.
Joan Graham turns 100 in Kelso.

A globe-trotting great-grandmother has celebrated her 100th birthday with friends and family in Kelso this week.

Joan Graham, an avid tennis fan, is one of the few Brits who can boast of having been at Wimbledon to see Fred Perry’s win in 1936 and then watching Andy Murray’s win there on television 77 years later.

Joan Graham celebrates her 100th birthday with family at Mayfield Garden Centre.

Joan Graham celebrates her 100th birthday with family at Mayfield Garden Centre.

Born in Oxted in Surrey on July 1, 1919, Joan was the eldest daughter of a London banker.

She left school at 18 to teach English to German children at a school in Germany for 18 months, returning just months before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.

The following year she married her near neighbour Murray Graham, an architect, and spent much of the war years near Salisbury, where he was involved in training gunners.

In 1946, the couple moved north to Edinburgh to raise their three children – Robert, born in 1942; Jane, arriving three years later; and Peter, born in 1953.

Rob, 77, said: “My father retired in 1976, and they sold up the house in Mid Calder and moved to St Boswells.

“Both were active in the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Melrose.

“Joan had inherited her father’s gardening enthusiasm and spent a lot of time gardening.”

Following her husband’s death in 1988, Joan spent many years travelling with her neighbour Charlotte Blain to China, Alaska, South America, Africa and most parts of Europe, as well as visits to her sister Inez in New Zealand, who died this year aged 94. Their other sister Audrey, 97, lived in Sri Lanka for many years before returning home to Dorset.

Joan moved into Grove House care home in Kelso in January 2017 and still enjoys visits from Kelso Episcopal Church and being involved with the garden layout there.

Her children live in Livingston, Edinburgh and Lanark and she has five grandchildren and nine great-granchildren.

On Monday, Joan received a card from the Queen and an abundance of plants to be put in place for her at the home.

She celebrated with friends at Grove House before a family meal at Kelso’s Mayfield Garden Centre.