GLADYS Anderson, who turned 100 last week, put her longevity down to a strong work ethic and having her best friend by her side every step of the way.
It’s been a busy weekend for the centenarian who celebrated with a special dinner at Lurgan Free Presbyterian Church on Thursday night and a reception in the Mayor’s Parlour on Friday afternoon.
Gladys was born in Moira on May 24, 1913 and is one of five siblings. She had two brothers - John and James - and two sisters - Sarah and Margaret - all of whom are now deceased.
She went to school in Moira and when she was 15 she moved to Lurgan.
She said: “I worked in Johnson Allen then the work got scarce and we got paid off. Then I was working in Spence Bryson in Portadown.”
Gladys moved to Scotland after she met her husband to be - Thomas Anderson from Scotland.
“We got married in Scotland. I turned 25 in May and got married in November.
“I was in Scotland during the Second World War making wheels for aeroplanes. I was there for six years until the war ended.
“We used to come over here (Lurgan) every year to visit.”
Sadly, it was during one of Gladys and Thomas’s holidays home that her husband died.
Gladys said: “Whenever my husband died I came back here. I worked in the Water Board until I was 65.”
Gladys has no children, but she remains very close to her nephew David Wilson from Derryadd.
David and the rest of her extended family, some coming over from England to visit, have spent the weekend with Gladys in her Mourneview home.
“It’s nice to have all my family here,” she said.
“There’s been a lot of excitement these last few days.”
When asked what the secret to long live is, Gladys replied: “I don’t know. I’ve just worked hard all my life.”
Gladys, a member of Lurgan Free Presbyterian Church for over 40 years, said: “I’m saved and I know the Lord is my Saviour.
“I love all my friends, but the Lord is the best friend to me.”
The Reverend David Creane paid tribute to Gladys, whom he said was a valued member of the congregation and a lady of great faith.
He commented: “Mrs Anderson has been a faithful member of the church for over 40 years.
“She attends consistently on the Lord’s Day and the midweek prayer meeting on a Tuesday night.
“She is also keen on outreach work and come hail or shine she is always ready to take her stand along with others in the open-air Gospel witness. Whenever there was a need she was always there working and encouraging the work of God in every way she could.
“She is well loved and highly regarded by people of all age groups both inside and outside the congregation. Her sweet smile, sense of humour and infectious laugh are characteristic of her pleasing personality.
“She is always elegantly dressed and her hair kept immaculate with weekly visits to the hairdresser.”