Centenary birthday for Amy

Amy McMullan, of Penicuik who celebrated her 100th birthday on 12/12/17.
Amy McMullan, of Penicuik who celebrated her 100th birthday on 12/12/17.

Amy McMullen recently celebrated her birthday with friends and family in Penicuik, a century after being born on the other side of the world.

Amy was born on December 12, 1917 in Jamaica, and grew up in China after her Jamaican mother died. She was schooled in Hong Kong and then trained as a nurse.

Amy met her first husband Peter Burnett who was a Royal Scots soldier from Easthouses. They married in 1939 and had a daughter Margaret in 1941. Sadly, Peter drowned on the Lisbon Maru in 1942, while Amy and Margaret were Japanese prisoners of war until liberation in 1945.

After the war mother and daughter came to Easthouses and Amy later married Jimmy McMullen in 1951, they had a daughter Evelyn. Amy worked in Loanhead Hospital until retirement and lived in Gorebridge. She has lived in Penicuik with Evelyn and her husband for the last three years.

Evelyn said of the milestone birthday: “We had a party in the house and a bagpiper, Willie Stewart from Roslin Pipe Band, played for entertainment.

“I was trying to think about what we could do to make it more special and it was a roaring success. She loved it.

“Her first husband was in a pipe band in Hong Kong and she used to enjoy watching them marching, and she also enjoyed the Edinburgh Tattoo.

“We had close friends and family here and her nephew was over from America to represent that side of the family which was nice.

“She got a birthday card from the Queen and a telegram from the secretary of state. She loved them.

“She really enjoyed the day. We had a party from 2-4pm then other family members who couldn’t make it due to work came in the evening.

“She was really tired by the end of the day. But she managed to stay awake all day which was great.”

And the big day was a truly international celebration thanks to modern technology.

Evelyn said: “We face-timed other relatives from the Caribbean and Florida so they were on when the piper was playing. It was lovely.

“They come and live here to look after here when my husband and I get a holiday.

“Mum is totally dependent on help. She can walk, speak and eat but she couldn’t even take herself to the loo.”

Amy has seven grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and 10 great-great grandchildren. Her birthday card from the Queen will join the telegram from King George she received in 1945 for being a prisoner of war .