Belfast Telegraph

Love of good man key to long life, says Beattie as she turns 104

Beattie Taylor celebrates with her daughter Pearl and mayor Sean Bateson
Beattie Taylor celebrates with her daughter Pearl and mayor Sean Bateson

By David Young

Former music teacher Beattie Taylor, who celebrated her 104th birthday yesterday, has said the secret to long life is "the love of a good man".

Mrs Taylor, a resident at Madelayne Court Care Home in Portstewart, celebrated her special day surrounded by staff and her daughter Pearl.

Along with her many cards from well-wishers, she also enjoyed a visit from the mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, councillor Sean Bateson.

The mayor brought the centenarian flowers and a hand-made card.

A harpist played at the birthday party, and Irish dancers jigged and reeled, while the care home staff had baked three birthday cakes - one with the figure one, another with a zero and a third with the number four.

"There were a lot of candles to blow out" her daughter Pearl joked last night.

Beattie was born in 1915 as the First World War raged across Europe.

She grew up in Binevenagh near Limavady.

She married her husband Ernie, a pharmacist, in the 1940s.

They had one daughter, Pearl.

Beattie was a church organist and a very successful music teacher, having taught over 100 pupils - many of whom still come to visit her in her Portstewart nursing home.

The couple, who had also run a pharmacy in Londonderry, retired to Portstewart in 1977 where Beattie continued to teach music - and play bowls, her favourite sport - until well into her 90s.

"The nursing staff look after her well," Pearl said.

"Since she came into this home a year-and-a-half ago, she's put on 12 kilos. Most of us would want to lose 12!"

Beattie is a romantic at heart, Pearl said.

"Music and playing bowls was her life - and making mischief!" Pearl giggled.

"Her door is always open.

"She's always singing or telling a joke, and wants to make sure everybody at the home has found the love of their life, so she spends her time matchmaking!"

Daughter Pearl also paid tribute to the way her mum had been looked after by medical staff at the Causeway Coast Hospital - especially consultant surgeon Fred Mullan, who had operated on Beattie for a serious illness when she was in her 90s.

"He basically saved her life," Pearl said.

"She wouldn't be here today if it hadn't been for him."

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