Alice celebrates 100th birthday in fine style

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A FORMER resident of the old mining village of Bothwellhaugh has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Alice Bilsland McKenna received the congratulations of the Queen and of South Lanarkshire Council at a special celebration last week.

Alice was born at her grandmother’s house at 36 Roman Place, Bothwellhaugh, to William McCombe and Margaret Bilsland McCombe.

William was a miner at the local pit - Bothwellhaugh was occupied from the 1880s until the 1960s when it was abandoned with the land now forming part of Strathclyde Park - and the family home was 39 Brandon Place, and known as ‘The Palace’.

Alice was the fifth of seven children - four girls and three boys - and attended Bothwell Primary and Uddingston Grammar Schools.

On leaving school she worked in the local shop and post office and, for a very short time, in a guest house in Largs.

Alice has fond memories of long holidays to see her maternal grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins in London and says she also loved going to the dancing at The Salon in Hamilton and Motherwell Town Hall.

She married Hugh McKenna, a miner from Hamilton, in January 1935 and they settled into married life in his hometown.

Alice and Hugh had six children, four girls and two boys. Unfortunately they lost their fourth child Alice when she was four years old and in November 1956, on his way back from work, Hugh was killed by a train.

Alice then went to work as a school dinner lady at St Anne’s Primary School, Hamilton, until she retired aged 65.

She enjoyed playing the piano but unfortunately her eyesight is poor and she is unable to read the music now.

In her late 70s she joined a sequence dancing club and although a heart attack when she was 81 put a stop to her sequence dancing, she still enjoys a dance when at weddings and social functions.

Alice has 12 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren - with a 19th due in December - and six great great grandchildren.