A PEEBLES woman has celebrated her 100th birthday in the company of her family and friends.

A special tea party was held for Brenda Holland recently at her Whitestone Court home.

And as well as receiving the traditional birthday card from the Queen, among the visitors was Lord Lieutenant of Tweeddale, Sir Hew Strachan.

Brenda was born in Catford in south east London, but moved to Malta at the age of eight – after her father, who worked in the Dockyard Department of the Admiralty, was posted there.

Brenda said: "My sister Joan and I were madly excited and I dare say our parents were too – I remember the hustle and bustle of preparations.

"I remember my sister and I being taken to St Joseph's Convent School by my father. We were very happy there.

"Nearly every Sunday in summer, a single-decker bus was hired and we went with our British family and friends to a lovely sandy beach – Armier Bay – on the other side of the island.

"We were in Malta until 1932 and I remember it as a magic period of my life."

On the family's return to the UK, they rented a house in Merton Park in Wimbledon, where Brenda was educated.

After she left school at 17, she went to work in the Prudential Assurance Company as a clerk.

She added: "I was very nearly 20 years old when war was declared in September 1939.

"I had been working in the Prudential Assurance Society since leaving school and within a few days of war being declared, I was evacuated to Torquay."

And it was on the south coast where Brenda met her husband Frank, from Edinburgh.

She explained: "In the autumn of 1940 two air-sea rescue boats arrived in the harbour and the two crews were billeted in our hotel. They consisted of two petty officers, Frank Holland and Peter Greenstead, and four ratings.

"I had my 21st birthday on October 1. Frank and his crew were off duty and he asked if he could join the fun, as it happened to be his birthday too – his 28th. A great night was had by all.

"Shortly after this, Frank asked me to go to a Concert Party at the Pavillion with him. It was a lovely evening and after that we became a couple and never looked back."

The pair got married in February of 1942 and were together for 54 years until his death.

The couple lived in Edinburgh as well as Port Seton in East Lothian where they had three children – Jane, Sue and Andrew.

But it was Peebles where they eventually settled.

Daughter Sue said: "My mum has lived in Peebles for almost 40 years.

"They first lived in a house at South Park West, but my mum has been at Whitestone Court for the past 10 years.

"She is quite well-known in the town now and she loves getting involved with the local art clubs."