Glasgow great great gran celebrates remarkable 105th birthday

·3-min read
h <i>(Image: Helen Palmer by Gordon Terris, Newsquest)</i>
h (Image: Helen Palmer by Gordon Terris, Newsquest)

A Glasgow great-great gran celebrated her remarkable 105th birthday on Sunday.

Helen Palmer was joined by 80 members of her family for an afternoon tea at the Mount Vernon Bowling Club to honour the occasion.

Helen said: “I thought it was great. I wasn’t looking forward to it but it was actually a great crowd, all family.

“Everyone was so good, even with all the kids, they were really good and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

“They weren’t cheeky or anything like that.”

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

Head of the family, Helen's brood includes 16 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, and seven great, great-grandchildren.

She said: “Before I came away they had a cake there and I had to cut the cake.

“And there was a big queue before I come away, and everyone was taking a turn to shake my hand and all that.”

She added: “I’d have loved to have a lot more, the likes of the one for my hundredth, it was a bigger thing with a bigger cake.”

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Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:
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To mark the special day, Helen received a letter from King Charles and the Queen Consort.

She plans to hang it next to the letter she received from Queen Elizabeth on her 100th birthday.

The centenarian was born on March 26, 1918, in the East End and has lived in the area all her life.

She said: "With my mother and father, we just had a single end.

"I was wild, I was always climbing on something. They were rebuilding Templetons at that time and we were just next to it.

“We were always scooting in and we were always getting chased.”

Glasgow Times: Helen and Alec Palmer
Glasgow Times: Helen and Alec Palmer

Helen and Alec Palmer (Image: Helen and Alec Palmer)

Helen worked in the Begg Cousland wire works on Springfield Road until 1942.

It was there she met her husband, Alec Palmer, who played centre-half for Scotland and competed against Ireland in 1946.

She said: “I was in the drillers. That’s what we called it. We had a grey dress, and a hat turned up.”

They were married in 1939 and had seven children.

Alec sadly passed away in 1992.

Helen loves to dance and though she is in good health she has not been able to attend since the pandemic.

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Glasgow Times:

She confesses that she misses the bingo and the line dancing, but she is still in good spirits.

Her secret to a long and happy life is to take each day as it comes.

She said “I just take a day at a time. I have that guardian angel who still watches me.

“I always say that guardian angel watches me.”

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Her advice for young people today is to “keep going to church”.

She said: “I’ve not been for about two years now, but every Sunday we used to go to the mother’s group there."

It makes her happy to see how much her family has grown, and she still makes sure to send every youngster a card with a bit of money each birthday and Christmas.

She said: “I must thank them all, all the family, for all the things they’ve done. They’ve all done a lot.”

Instead of gifts for Helen's 105th birthday, the Palmer family have decided to fundraise for Calum's Cabin, a charity that supports the families of children with cancer and cancer-related illnesses.

To find out more about the charity, click here.