‘Sharp as a tack’: Sunderland great-gran praised as she celebrates 100th birthday

A much loved great-grandmother has celebrated her 100th birthday with a special gathering.

Thursday, 24th January 2019, 5:00 am
Catherine Baillie celebrates her 100 birthday. Front daughter Elsa Davison and son Fred Baillie. Back from left daughter-in-law Marilyn Baillie and sister Phyl Glancey

Catherine Baillie, from Sophy Street in Sunderland, marked the occasion with a party at the Roker Hotel and a family meal.

Born in Southwick on January 23, 1919, Catherine is now a grandmother of 11 and also has 11 great-grandchildren.

Catherine Baillie celebrates her 100 birthday

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She has been described as ‘sharp as a tack’ by her family and even lives independently her own home.

In her younger days she worked as a cook at a hospital in London, where she lived for a number of years at the beginning of the Second World War.

After meeting her husband John Baillie, who worked as a miner at Wearmouth Colliery, she returned home to Sunderland.

Catherine and John married in Southwick in November 1942.

The couple went on to have six children: Fred Baillie, 75, Elsa Davison, 73, Jan Currer, 69, Ian Baillie, 63, Sonia Downey, 61, and Simon Baillie, 55.

All of the children live in the North East, apart from Jan who lives in Canada.

Catherine gave up work to be a full-time mum for her children, and to this day enjoys hobbies such as knitting and crotchetting.

Her son Fred said: “She had nine siblings and over the years enjoyed family trips across England and to Europe.
“She really enjoyed that and would also go to Blackpool a lot over the years.

“She still has two sisters - Phyl Glancey and Rose Davison.

“She had a big circle of friends.

“And she still enjoys her hobbies of knitting and crotchetting.

“She still lives in her own house and likes a laugh and a joke.”

Her daughter-in-law Marilyn Baillie said that she had a special birthday cake made by Sunderland business Cake Gem, featuring figures made out of marzipan to represent moments in her life.
It features Catherine as a cook and surrounded by family members.