Scotland’s oldest woman, former Galashiels guesthouse boss Annie, dies at age of 109

Annie Lean on her 105th birthday.
Annie Lean on her 105th birthday.

Scotland’s oldest woman, former Borders guesthouse boss Annie Lean, has died at the age of 109.

Annie Lean was born on November 3, 1909, and grew up in the Midlothian village of Fushiebridge.

It had no electricity or sewage system back then, and water had to be drawn from a well opposite the family home the then Annie Beattie shared with her younger sister, three brothers and their parents.

The family later moved to another village in Midlothian, Temple, and after leaving school, Annie secured work as a home help for a couple in Trinity in Edinburgh.

She was later employed as a silver table maid for shipping company Salveson and as a shopworker in Edinburgh.

In 1932, Annie married garage mechanic and future Dalkeith provost Tommy Lean, and they had a daughter, Evelyn, and three sons – Tom and the late Jim and John.

Tom, of Rosewell in Midlothian, said: “She was very active all her life, and she was still driving until she was 90, when she was registered blind.”

Annie and Tommy moved to Galashiels in the 1970s to open a bed-and-breakfast, returning to Midlothian after they retired at the end of the 1980s to live in a bungalow in Newtongrange.

Tommy died in 1990, and Annie moved into a care home in Dalkeith, also in Midlothian, 10 years ago, remaining there for the rest of her life.