Midlothian’s oldest woman turns 109

Annie Lean, with her son Tom. Pictured on her 105th birthday, four years ago.
Annie Lean, with her son Tom. Pictured on her 105th birthday, four years ago.

The second oldest woman in Scotland celebrated her 109th birthday earlier this month at a Dalkeith care home.

Annie Lean is only three months younger than the country’s oldest living woman. The wife of former Dalkeith Provost Tommy Lean, she was born Annie Barrie Beattie at Fushiebridge in the Parish of Borthwick at 5.45 am on November 3, 1909.

Annie spent most of her life in Midlothian, in Newtongrange, Temple and Dalkeith, with short periods in Fife, Musselburgh and Galashiels.

Her son Tom Lean (78) from Rosewell said of his mother’s age: “It’s quite unusual. She was brought up mostly in the country, before cars and TV. And she danced all her life. She was very active.

“She once told me that when they needed a doctor, because there was no cars, he had to come on horse back!

“When she retired she ran a bed and breakfast in Galashiels until she was 80. Then she got a bungalow in Newtongrange. I remember her doing the slabbing! Which at the age of 80 was just amazing.”

In her working life Annie was a home help for a doctor and his wife in Trinity. Later she worked at Saxon’s in Princess Street and then R&W Forsyth on St Andrew’s Square.

Later on she cooked the breakfasts at the Stair Arms in Pathhead.

Annie’s father in law James Lean was the first Labour Dalkeith Provost and has a street named after him in Woodburn.

Tom added: “And obviously with my dad also being a Labour Provost mum was always out canvassing for Labour votes when elections were coming up. She was very active all her life. And she was still driving until she was 90 when she was registered blind.”