The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JOANNE WARNOCK

A woman born just days be­fore the end of the First World War cel­e­brated her 100th birth­day yes­ter­day, putting her longevity down to “not eat­ing por­ridge” and “keep­ing busy”.

Orig­i­nally from Cro­marty, Cather­ine Ma­cAulay spent her big day hav­ing a tea party with a group of more than 50 fam­ily and friends.

Now liv­ing in Mid­mar with her daugh­ter He­len Robert­son, Mrs Ma­cAulay re­flected on a life that has seen her min­gling with stars and roy­alty.

She said: “I don’t like

“We get back from this world what we put into it”

por­ridge and I think the se­cret to long-life must be spend­ing your time prop­erly – I used to do a lot of char­ity work.”

Mrs Ma­cAulay stud­ied at Ed­in­burgh’s Do­mes­tic Sci­ence Col­lege be­fore the Sec­ond World War broke out and went on to work in the city’s five-star L’Aper­i­tif restau­rant where she met many film stars, in­clud­ing Bob Hope, Gin­ger Rogers and Bette Davis.

The restau­rant of­ten catered for the royal fam­ily when they stayed at Holy­rood and Mrs Ma­cAulay also re­mem­bers work­ing at a ball in Kir­riemuir where Princess Mar­garet was the guest of hon­our.

“She was too lovely,” re­called Mrs Ma­cAulay. “I opened the door from the pantry in time to meet her cartwheel­ing down the cor­ri­dor. She sim­ply said ‘Oops! – I am en­joy­ing my­self ’.”

Dur­ing the war, Mrs Ma­cAulay, or Miss Clark as she was then, joined the Wrens and worked as cater­ing house­keeper at La Mai­son Franco Ecos­saise in Char­ing Cross.

In 1942, she moved to RAF Leuchars, be­com­ing the cater­ing man­ager­ess un­til the end of the war when she re­turned to Cro­marty for a short time be­fore tak­ing up her old po­si­tion in Ed­in­burgh.

It was while in Ed­in­burgh she met civil en­gi­neer Robert Ma­cAulay, whom she mar­ried in 1951. Daugh­ter He­len ar­rived a few years later. The fam­ily spent some time in Zam­bia, where Mrs Ma­cAulay ran the women’s school in Chal­im­bana, near Lusaka.

They even­tu­ally re­turned to Cro­marty in 1960, but sadly Robert died in 1966 fol­low­ing a long strug­gle with a heart con­di­tion.

Mrs Ma­cAulay worked in Cro­marty’s Royal Ho­tel for a time be­fore buy­ing her own restau­rant, The Byre.

She said: “It was quite pop­u­lar and we made it into the Good Food Guide – a first for Cro­marty and the Black Isle.”

Hav­ing lived on the coast for so many years, Mrs MacAualay’s char­ity of choice when or­gan­is­ing her many fundrais­ing events was al­ways the RNLI.

This year for her birth­day she has asked her friends and fam­ily all do­nate to the char­ity in­stead of presents.

“I be­lieve we all have a guardian an­gel,” said Mrs Ma­cAulay. “And that we get back from this world what we put into it.”

FAM­ILY: Cather­ine Ma­cAulay with grand­daugh­ters, from left, Vicki Wil­son, Emily Veall, Kerry Wil­son and daugh­ter He­len Robert­son

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