A LONG-TIME Peeblesshire resident related to a famous Scottish author has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Lady Bettina Thomson, a prominent figure in Walkerburn for more than 60 years, has a family connection with Robert Louis Stevenson. Her mother Frances was a Stevenson from the family of lighthouse builders which included the writer of the 19th century novel Treasure Island.

Born in Edinburgh on January 1, 1915, Bettina never knew her father, who lost his life in the First World War when she was two-years-old. Her childhood was spent with her grandparents at North Berwick.

Bettina married Sir Douglas Thomson in 1935. Her husband was MP for South Aberdeen and part of the family that owned the Edinburgh shipping firm Ben Line. They moved to Holylee House near Walkerburn in 1944 and raised a family of five children there.

Bettina spent the next six decades living in the area, during which time she took an active interest in local affairs, representing Walkerburn on the County Council from 1960 to 1974.

She was also the driving force behind Priorwood Garden in Melrose, which she converted into a successful visitor destination for the National Trust.

Her fundraising for the trust earned her a special award in 1984.

She was a fearless traveller and well into her 70s she would venture into North Africa.

She also had a life-long interest in history and at the age of 82 she published a book about her Douglas ancestors – who included an Arctic explorer, a war hero who won the Victoria Cross and an admiral who founded the Japanese navy.

Her 100th birthday party was celebrated by 50 of her family and close friends in Yorkshire, where she now lives with her daughter.

Bettina said: “It’s remarkable to think that I have lived from a world of telegrams to one of television and computers – and I’m still here!”