Isma enjoys 100th birthday fit for a Queen

24 May 2021

A care home resident in Tain enjoyed a birthday fit for a Queen as she celebrated her centenary in lavish style.

Isma Munro from Innis Mhor care home shares the same birthday as Queen Victoria, 24 May, and so her birthday always coincided with Empire Day – held annually at the early start of the 20th century to mark the Queen’s birthday.

Sharing a birthday with Queen Victoria had its benefits – as a schoolgirl in her native village of Braemar, Aberdeenshire, her birthday was always Empire Day, so she enjoyed a half day holiday from school. When she celebrated her 21st birthday, Isma was a student at Aberdeen University, WW2 was raging and due to rationing there were no ingredients for a birthday cake - but thanks to her mother’s hens she celebrated with her favourite roast chicken for dinner.

Isma retired in 1980 and moved to the Highlands with her husband Joe. She was fully engaged in community life, volunteering in organisational roles for both Clan Mackenzie and Clan Munro, and was a stalwart of the SWRI. She was an enthusiastic amateur historian and archaeologist and volunteered for many years at both Castle Foulis and Tain Museum.

For most of her working life, Isma was headteacher at Ae Village School near Dumfries. She has many fond memories of village life and of her pupils. Several of her past pupils – some of whom are themselves now grandparents - called her to wish her well on her birthday.

Isma enjoys Innis Mhor’s joint activities with Craighill Primary School - one of the highlights of her birthday was a visit from Craighill pupils to present her with a canvas of flowers to mark her birthday.

After being presented with a birthday cake courtesy of Harry Gow, and a card from Her Majesty The Queen, Isma enjoyed a birthday lunch with her niece Margaret (pictured above) before being whisked off for champagne tea in a Jaguar.

Innis Mhor manager Jackie Macrae said: “Isma is such a wonderful and much loved member of the Innis Mhor family and, given that she shares her birthday with Queen Victoria, it was only fitting that we treat her like a Queen for the day! It was a very special day and we were delighted that her niece Margaret was able to share it with us.”

Isma and Joe had one daughter Deirdre who was tragically killed in a road accident at the age of 21. In her memory, Isma established an annual award for leadership at Ae School, which continues to be presented each year.