A north-east 105-year-old cannot wait for the pandemic restrictions to lift – so she can get back to the gym.
Coronavirus controls have kept Catherine Smith indoors and as she celebrated her birthday in the sunshine of a Mearns care home, the straight-talking great-great-gran admitted the loss of freedom had been “absolutely hellish”.
However, the dance lover is enjoying keeping fellow residents of Castle Lodge in Inverbervie on their toes after she moved there last spring shortly after lockdown was imposed.
Born in Ferryden, near Montrose, Cathy was still pumping iron in the gym at the town’s sports centre when she turned 104 last year.
The weekly fitness sessions on the treadmill and weights bench were among a host of activities in the life of a lady who puts her longevity down to something “in the genes”.
Schooled at Ferryden Primary and then Montrose Academy, Cathy went to work in the local mills at the age of 14.
She made all her own clothes and fancy dress outfits as a youngster and maintained a lifelong habit of making her money go further by buying from charity shops.
Cathy, who married her late husband, Andrew, when she was 18, has five children. Three are now in their 80s.
Her family also extends to 13 grandchildren and she admits she’s “lost count” of the number of great and great-great grandchildren she has – a tally which has recently been added to with the latest new arrival.
“All I know is they cost me a fortune at Christmas,” she joked previously.
She won ballroom dancing competitions in her younger day and was still riding a bike well into her 90s.
Cathy also worked as a volunteer at Oxfam for three decades until she was 93.
She still loves music, dancing and daily exercise with her fellow residents at Castle Lodge.
She said: “I’ve had both my jags, but it’s (lockdown) been absolutely hellish not getting out to do what I used to.
“I get on fine with the people here, and give them the occasional kick up the bum to keep them on their toes.
“I’d like to get back out to do all the things I used to, but we’ll see.”
Castle Lodge manager Diane Boyd said: “I’ve never met anyone like Cathy, she really is a wonderful lady.
“She arrived with us just after the start of the pandemic and did take bad to begin with because she is just so active and wasn’t able to get out to do her usual activities or see family.
“But she is so popular with everyone here and so able – she continues to do her daily exercises,” said Diane.