Stonehaven woman dies on her 100th birthday

Helen Silver Murray passed away before her milestone message of congratulations arrived from Buckingham Palace.'Cascade news (John Jeffay)
Helen Silver Murray passed away before her milestone message of congratulations arrived from Buckingham Palace.'Cascade news (John Jeffay)

A Stonehaven woman died on her 100th birthday - just hours before her card from the Queen was delivered.

Helen Silver Murray passed away before her milestone message of congratulations arrived from Buckingham Palace.

She lived just over an hour into her big day, said daughter Kay, 69.

“Her telegram from the Queen arrived later that day,” she added. “She never got to see it.”

Helen from Stonehaven, was born on November 23, 1915. She raised seven children and worked as an auxiliary nurse before taking up a job at the town’s Station Hotel, which she quit aged 98.

“Mum worked in the kitchen and made sure the place was spic-and-span as well as checking the bedrooms,” added Kay.

“She was a wonderful example of a hard-working Scot who lived for her family and her job. When she fell and broke her elbow she started to ease up a bit and gave up work.”

Like hundreds of wives and mums of her generation Helen - known as Nellie to her friends - was left to bring up her children when her late husband, Bob, was a prisoner of war during the Second World War.

He was captured by the Germans in North Africa during a failed bid to kill Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in 1941.

His son Bobby, 77, from Stonehaven, said: “Dad spent much of his war in prison camps in Italy and Austria.

“Mum did not get word about where he was until the middle of 1942 but until then could only carry on hoping he was alive. She had three children to look after and he didn’t return until 1946.

“Nothing fazed her and she coped admirably.

“She was the world to us all and others. More than 200 turned up at her funeral.

“These were people across the generations who knew and respected her.”

Helen’s husband, Bob, died in 1996, aged 79. According to recent figures, Buckingham Palace now sends more cards marking 100th birthdays than ever before. Officially, the number of people living to 100 in Scotland has grown by nearly four-fifths in a decade.

There were 910 centenarians in Scotland in 2014, a rise of 78% from 510 in 2004, according to the National Records of Scotland. An average life-expectancy of 100 will be commonplace for people born in 2064, it was revealed yesterday.