Centenary birthday boy

Cllr Peter Smaill. and Lt Col Richard Callander OBE Vice Lord-Lieutenant with Peter on his birthday last Friday
Cllr Peter Smaill. and Lt Col Richard Callander OBE Vice Lord-Lieutenant with Peter on his birthday last Friday

A Bonnyrigg man celebrated his 100th birthday last Friday with family and friends, in the same house he has lived in for almost his entire life.

Walter Banks Nisbet, known as Peter, celebrated his centenary at his ex-coal board home on Eldindean Road, where he has lived for 95 years.

Walter Banks Nisbet, known as Peter, pictured during the war.

Walter Banks Nisbet, known as Peter, pictured during the war.

His son Brian Nisbet (69) remains unsure as to the reasons for his father’s long life.

He said: “I was going to ask him myself. He has always liked a drink. His two best friends are Whyte and Mackay.

“He has exercised over the years. He has always been pretty active. He is not a worrier. He likes to live in the moment.

“I’m very proud of him. He says it’s just a number but I said to him the other day ‘you are coming into three digits now dad’. He doesn’t see it as a milestone.

“I asked him what the best decade he has lived in was and he said this one. I think again it’s just living in the moment.

“He has got a sense of humour and is very positive. He is housebound but I take him out. He has been in that house basically all his life. He says he is still getting used to it!”

Peter was born in Back Street, Dalkeith (now St Andrew Street). Before moving to Bonnyrigg aged five.

He married his wife Sally in Ulverston, Cumbria in 1946. They had two sons, Brian, and Peter, who died suddenly aged 44. Peter has a grandson, Stewart, who is 27. Sally sadly passed away in 1986.

Peter worked as apprentice gardener for a Lady Clark at her large house at Wadingburn, Lasswade. In 1934 he was a bakery van boy with St Cuthbert’s on horse and cart.

He was called up to the army in October 1939, aged 21.

Brian added: “Dad was in France until two weeks after Dunkirk. He got out by the skin of his teeth. He was involved as a Chindit in Burma. He also fought in Egypt, Syria, India and at the battle of Tobruk in Libya. He was then in the gliders, dropping behind enemy lines.”

On his release from the army in April 1946, Peter returned to St Cuthbert’s.

He then started working in local pits Loanhead and Roslin in the 1950s where he stayed for 14 years. He had various jobs between starting with Henry Widnell & Stewart carpet manufactures, at both its Bonnyrigg and Eskbank factories, before his job was made redundant in 1978. He then had a short spell at Ferranti in Dalkeith before taking early retirement, aged 63.

Peter kept canaries for years and stayed active with his dog Dodger.