Ritta celebrates reaching 100

Ritta Hay celebrates her 100th birthday with son Jim
Ritta Hay celebrates her 100th birthday with son Jim

Motherwell woman Ritta Hay was the centre of attention on Saturday as she celebrated her 100th birthday.

Ritta was born in Bellshill Road and moved to Watson Street when she was 23 after marrying James McWhinnie.

James had lived in the house since it was built in 1926 and Ritta continues to live in it to this day.

A talented musician Ritta met James when he helped her carry her accordion home and they formed a duo performing at the likes of the Barrowlands in Glasgow, Palace in Kilmarnock and Roxy in Falkirk, as well as being stalwarts of Lanarkshire Hospital Entertainers.

Away from the stage Ritta was the manager of a number of fashion stores including House of Morrison and Grafton.

During this time the couple had one son Jim, who has subsequently gone on to give Ritta two grandsons, Ramond and Scott, and a great-grandson, Ross.

James died at the age of 63 leaving Ritta a widow in her mid-50s, however she very much enjoyed an active social and regularly went out with friends.

The party would often bump into Robert Hay, who her friends joked was grumpy, but Ritta saw a good man and they were married in the early 1970s.

Robert has also now passed away, but Ritta still had a full house on Saturday to help her celebrate.

She said: “Of course when you get to my age lots of people are gone and I do miss then, but you know it hasn’t been a bad life at all.”