Peebles war veteran turns 100 after beating coronavirus

A BORDERS woman who served in the Second World War and beat coronavirus celebrated her 100th birthday on Christmas Day.

Annie Drummond, of Peebles, raised a glass of bubbly to mark the special occasion in Dovecot Court.

The youngest child of Jessie and Arthur Smith, Annie was born in Peebles Northgate and had four siblings – her brothers Jackie and Arthur, and sisters Jessie and Jeanie.

Tragedy soon followed Annie’s arrival when a week after she was born, her father drowned in the River Tweed.

This wasn’t the only heartache the family suffered, as her brother Arthur died of whooping cough as a young boy.

READ MORE: Innerleithen resident celebrates 100th birthday

Annie served in the Second World War in the Auxiliary Territorial Service and carried out sentry duty at night, keeping watch for enemy planes flying over.

She was discharged from the army during the war due to respiratory problems, which her family says is ironic as she beat COVID-19 at home.

As a young girl Annie and her sister Jessie danced locally in Peebles and Innerleithen and were known as “the wee Smith sisters”. Big sister Jeanie took on the role of seamstress and made their costumes.

Annie was married to Dave Drummond for 57 years and had three children, Dianne, David and Aileen. She is a proud grandmother to six grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

Border Telegraph: Some of Annie Drummond's 100th birthday cards, with the Queen among the well-wishersSome of Annie Drummond’s 100th birthday cards, with the Queen among the well-wishers

Over the years Annie has worked at March Street Mill and was a cleaner at Peebles High School.

She and husband Dave began married life by moving into a cottage at Stobo where Dave worked as a gardener. They then moved to Cringletie before coming back to Peebles to raise their children in Victoria Park Drive.

Sadly Dave passed away in May 2005, and Annie left their family home to live in Cleland Avenue for several years.

Annie now stays at Dovecot Court extra care housing development where she celebrated her milestone birthday.

As well as a telegram from the Queen and Lord Lieutenant, bell ringers at the Old Parish played Happy Birthday in her honour, which a family member recorded for her.

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She had a socially-distanced visit from her family bubble… and enjoyed some bubbly too!

Not only did this remarkable lady serve in the war, beat COVID, and celebrate being 100 years old, she also donated her birthday money of £500 to CHAS (Children’s Hospice) and Project 96 for the homeless.

Her family say she’s a real character and when asked how it felt to turn 100 years old, she simply said: “The same as it did yesterday when I was 99!”

When I hear Annie’s answer to my next question, an iconic song comes to mind – Let’s Face the Music and Dance – as her legacy brings meaning to the lyrics. 

Written in 1936 when the world was teetering on the brink of war, which Annie served in, she faced many troubles ahead, including surviving a deadly virus weeks before her 100th birthday.

But her secret to a long and happy life? After having both love and romance, she says: “Face the music and dance!”

Border Telegraph | News