Coldingham centenarian Lizzie is toast of village

Lord Lieutenant for Berwickshire, Major Alex Trotter delivers a telegram from HRH the Queen to Coldingham resident Lizzie Love in celebration of her 100th birthday.
Lord Lieutenant for Berwickshire, Major Alex Trotter delivers a telegram from HRH the Queen to Coldingham resident Lizzie Love in celebration of her 100th birthday.

A MUCH-LOVED great grandmother has celebrated her 100th birthday at her home in Coldingham.

Lizzie Love, nee Hunter, was the toast of the town when she marked the magnificent milestone last week.

She was presented with a birthday telegram from the Queen by the Lord Lieutenant of Berwickshire, Major Alexander Trotter, at a family celebration last Wednesday.

Lizzie’s daughter Janice Bole told The Berwickshire News: “She had a lovely day. It took a wee while for her to register the telegram because she has dementia, but once she realised she was really pleased.

“It was so nice of everyone to send cards and we’d like to thank everyone who did.”

Formerly of East Lothian, Lizzie has lived in Coldingham with Janice and her son-in-law John for the past 12 years.

“She loves the Borders, she thinks it’s beautiful here, but she doesn’t like my house because it’s not on a main street or anything, she thinks it’s a bit out of the way!” Janice said.

Lizzie particularly enjoys attending Eyemouth Day Hospital, which aims to improve or maintain people’s independence by providing care in the patient’s own community.

“She got a card from the Day Hospital which she was really pleased with,” Janice said. “She’s been going there for about three or four years now and she loves it.

“I’d like to thank the girls from the Day Hospital, they’re brilliant,” Janice added. “They even come and see her in their own time.”

Born and raised in Tranent, Lizzie had many years of involvement in local organisations there, including the East Lothian Co-operative Society.

One of four siblings, she attended school in the town before leaving at the age of 14 to work alongside her sister, Annie, as a field worker on local farms.

She met her future husband, Jimmy, at a dance when she was 14 and he was 18 - and though it would be a few years before they became an item, Lizzie knew she’d found the man for her as soon as they met.

Lizzie’s granddaughter, Ruth Cairns, from Dunbar, explained: “As soon as she saw my grandfather she said to her mother: ‘I’m going to marry him.’ So her mum hauled her out of the hall by her pigtails!

“She waited a long time for him to marry her but she got her way in the end. She certainly wasn’t shy!”

Jimmy, a miner, and Lizzie tied the knot in Tranent Parish Church in 1939, as people across the nation prepared for years of war.

The couple had three children together, Sandra, Janice and Jim, and Lizzie is now a doting grandmother, with eight grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

A housewife, Lizzie made a huge contribution to the local community, and as a music lover with a passion for performing, she travelled all over the county performing songs, poetry and dances at local events.

In the 1940s, Lizzie formed the Lizzie Love Choir, which later became the ELCO Toppers, also known as the ‘Co-operative Choir’, which competed and performed in a number of music competitions across the country and performed pantomimes every year, raising money for charity.

She was well-known for her excellent singing voice and her talent for coaching youngsters with their singing and performing.

Among Lizzie’s prodigies was Isa Thomson, who joined the choir as a youngster and went on to form the Centre Stage group, still going strong today.

A keen bowler, Lizzie was a frequent visitor to Polson Park’s pavilion and a member of the East Lothian Co-operative club. She competed, alongside friend Lizzie Gilmour right up until the age of 88.

She was also the last chairman of the East Lothian Co-operative Society, based in Tranent, before it merged in 1992 with Border Regional Co-operative Society, becoming Lothian and Borders Co-operative Society.