Evelyn becomes a media darling as she reaches 100

Evelyn Waddell
Evelyn Waddell

She’s a well known name to many in these parts as the widow of former Duns Castle gardener Abe, and Evelyn Waddell has just celebrated her 100th birthday.

Mother of four and also a grandmother and great grandmother, Evelyn reached the milestone on July 29 and received her fair share of attention in Australia where she now lives.

Stories of her landmark birthday appeared in both the Ballarat Courier and the Waverley Leader, the paper covering the town she recently moved to to live with her daughter.

Evelyn’s nephew Bill lives in Duns with his wife Shiela but it was her 77-year-old niece, Shiela Smith, a former Dinger now living in Lauder, who contacted ‘The Berwickshire’ to let us know about her fame.

“She’s such a great character,” Sheila enthused.

“She’s so fit and lively for her age. I last spoke to her a few months ago and she seemed in very good spirits.

“I’m sure she’s lapped up the attention she got from the newspapers in Australia.”

Born in 1900, Evelyn’s late husband Abe passed away in 1969, having served in both World Wars with the KOSB as well as working as a gardener firstly at Duns Castle and latterly at Marchmont House.

Abe and Evelyn, who herself is a keen gardener, met at a dance in Australia not long after Abe made the rather spontaneous move Down Under and Shiela, who spent her early life at a house in North Street, Duns, said it had been a while since her aunt had travelled back over to Berwickshire.

Sheila said: “Aunt Evelyn, although born in England, is a big lover of the Borders.

“I can’t quite recall when it was that I last saw her but I remember accompanying her to a church service one time in Duns.

“People knew who she was because of my Uncle Abe.”

Evelyn’s four children, eldest daughter Elizabeth, son Bruce and younger daughters Margaret and Janice, all live in Australia and planned a party to help her celebrate reaching her 100th year.

When interviewed by the Waverley Leader in Australia , Evelyn, who has worked as a telephonist, taught Sunday school classes, been a Girl Guide leader and a Country Women’s Association district president in her time, said she had enjoyed being measured for a special outfit for her birthday gathering.

She explained: “I’ve never been a fashion plate but I’ve always felt I wanted to look respectable.”

We also have it on good authority that until postal prices got too high, Evelyn, who is the oldest of eight children, was also an avid reader of ‘The Berwickshire News’.