Great Dunmow resident celebrates turning 104

PUBLISHED: 08:10 01 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:10 01 May 2019

Eva Gellatly as a baby. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Eva Gellatly as a baby. Picture: CONTRIBUTED


From tailor to psychiatric nurse and eventual civil servant, Eva Gellatly, who turned 104-years-old on Thursday (April 25), has tried her hand at a variety of careers.

Eva with her mother and father. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDEva with her mother and father. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Eva, who is a resident at Moat House Care Home in Great Dunmow, was born in Woolwich in 1915 and later explored the world, visiting Egyptian pyramids in her fifties and travelling to America by herself.

Her daughter, Jean Lau, 73, who lives in Harlow and worked as a hairdresser in Sawbridgeworth, spoke to the Broadcast about her mother's life.

After securing a scholarship to study tailoring, which her mother signed her up for, Eva worked as a clothes maker.

“It meant she was always able to make money,” Jean explained, “in the end she got fed up with it though”.

Eva in her teenage years. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDEva in her teenage years. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The skills she learnt however, proved useful throughout her life.

“She always used to make her own clothes. She used to make my school uniform out of my dad's work clothes,” Jean recalls.

Eva then worked as a psychiatric nurse in Dartford, Kent, where she met charge nurse, Eddie Gellatly, who she married aged 28.

The couple lived in Dartford during the war, although Eva travelled to Kent to give birth and started to work full time again when Jean was five.

Eva worked as a civil servant. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDEva worked as a civil servant. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Eva, who is now a great-grandmother of six, decided to take a civil service exam for the over forties. One of her roles included escorting Penny Black stamps, the world's first adhesive postage stamp, when they were taken to the airport, to be exhibited in other countries.

“She was very proud of that,” Jean recalls.

After 25 years of marriage, Eva and Eddie divorced and Eva decided to explore the world.

Being interested in archaeology and history, she climbed Egyptian pyramids whilst riding a donkey and visited Petra in Jordan.

Eva aged 14. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDEva aged 14. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

On her birthday, Eva was presented with a strawberry-topped chocolate cake by care home staff and spoke to Jean, who was unable to attend the celebration, on the phone.

Jean recounts one final strand of information about her mother. Well-known clairvoyant Maurice Woodruff once predicated Eva's future at a fete, explaining how her life would unfold. And what a long and eventful life it seems to have been.

Eva marrying Eddie Gellatly. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDEva marrying Eddie Gellatly. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Eva (right) with her mum and Jean. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDEva (right) with her mum and Jean. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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