Cheers and tears as Elsie marks 100 glorious years

Hawick Common Riding stalwart Elsie Leithead has never been known for showing her emotions but that all changed when a fife and drum band paid a surprise musical tribute to mark her 100th birthday.

Sunday, 20th December 2020, 4:40 pm
Updated Monday, 21st December 2020, 7:07 am
Elsie Leithead surrounded by flowers and Cards, including her card from Her Majesty in pride of place. (PHOTO: BILL McBURNIE)

Family and friends made her big day an emotional one after turning up on Friday at Millfield House care home in Jedburgh, where centenarian Elsie moved three years ago to be nearer her daughter Joyce, 77.

Elsie, the Acting Mother in the 1963 Hawick Common Riding, alongside her late husband Jimmy as Acting Father, was overjoyed to see the effort her loved ones had made.

But it was when the Hawick Fife and Drum band struck up that the magnitude of the day became apparent.

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Daughter Joyce said: “It was brilliant, she had an absolutely super time. She’s never been a teary person but when the Fife and Drum band of Hawick came and played she welled up. We were in the garden and she was sitting in the garden room with the doors open. It was a total surprise to her and she loved every minute of it. She never talks about the secret of a long life, but she has had a happy life.”

Elsie, born in Hawick on December 18, 1920 and a hand sewer much of her working life, has outlived two of her three daughters, with Doreen and Muriel having passed before her.

She said: “I had a brilliant day and it was wonderful to see my family again.”