Secret to a long life is ‘nothing in excess’ say Greenisland centenarians

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Maureen Morrow, paid a visit to Knockagh Rise Nursing Home for the 100th birthday celebrations of May McCracken (left) and Ivy Scott. INCT 04-002-PSB
The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Maureen Morrow, paid a visit to Knockagh Rise Nursing Home for the 100th birthday celebrations of May McCracken (left) and Ivy Scott. INCT 04-002-PSB

Winston Churchill at the War Rooms was among the memories recalled as two centenarians teamed up for a joint birthday celebration in Greenisland today (Friday).

That encounter with the WW11 Prime Minster was one of the highlights in the life of Evelyn (Ivy) Scott, who along with Catherine (May) McCracken, enjoyed a party at Knockagh Rise Nursing Home.

Ivy Scott with her nieces, Andrea Crook and Lynn Cooke, at Knockagh Rise Nursing Home. INCT 04-003-PSB

Ivy Scott with her nieces, Andrea Crook and Lynn Cooke, at Knockagh Rise Nursing Home. INCT 04-003-PSB

Ivy was born on January 26, 1920 and May 10 days earlier in the same year.

And both revealed their secret to long life: “Good food and fresh vegetables. Little alcohol and nothing in excess.”

Ivy was brought up on a family dairy farm in Straid, Co Antrim. She attended Ballyclare Secondary and worked as an office junior in Ballyclare Paper Mill.

She joined the civil service and was transferred to London during the war where she worked in the citadel in the Cabinet War Rooms, located under Horse Guards Parade grounds.

May McCracken (seated right) with Betty Watson, the Rt Rev Dr William Henry, Moderator of the General Assembly, the Mayor, Cllr Maureen Morrow, and Angus Stewart, Minister of Whiteabbey Presbyterian Church. INCT 04-004-PSB

May McCracken (seated right) with Betty Watson, the Rt Rev Dr William Henry, Moderator of the General Assembly, the Mayor, Cllr Maureen Morrow, and Angus Stewart, Minister of Whiteabbey Presbyterian Church. INCT 04-004-PSB

Ivy, who remembers seeing Winston Churchill in the underground war offices, stayed in London over 30 years before returning to Northern Ireland.

May, from Southampton, left school at 14 to work in a cable factory where she stayed until she married.

She and her husband, Victor, met at a dance - first dance and that was it, they fell in love. He was a merchant seaman from Northern Ireland.

May’s son Brian, lives in London and she has a younger brother of 96, Matthew, living in Australia.

The Victory Rollers provided the entertainment at the 100th birthday celebrations. INCT 04-005-PSB

The Victory Rollers provided the entertainment at the 100th birthday celebrations. INCT 04-005-PSB

Ivy and May have resided at Knockagh Rise for five and four years respectively and are said to enjoy excellent care and various activities including armchair exercises, baking, crafts as well as bingo, singing and weekly church services.

Each received a card from the Queen to mark their 100th birthday and were presented with flowers by the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Maureen Morrow.

The party included entertainment by The Victory Rollers and afternoon tea.