Mima reveals the secrets to a long and happy life

Mima Heaney celebrating her 100th birthday at home. Pic: Michael Gillen
Mima Heaney celebrating her 100th birthday at home. Pic: Michael Gillen

Banknock’s oldest resident has singled out bingo, Irn-Bru and chips as the secret ingredients to life-long happiness after celebrating her 100th birthday.

Mima Heaney swears by her trusted trio of treats — and has every reason to, having reached the ripe old age by sticking to her diet ever since she was young.

Family and friends turned out at the Railway Inn in Bonnybridge to mark the occasion as the birthday girl enjoyed a dance and sang her favourite song – The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen.

Mima, who is a member of St Luke’s Church in Bonnybridge, also received a Papal blessing from Pope Francis on her big day and joked: “If I don’t get to Heaven it’s not my fault!”

Born in Wyndford Lock, as the second oldest of 14 children, she was baptised Jemima McGuire in St Patrick’s, Kilsyth.

Mima, married Patrick, in 1939, in St Patrick’s, Kilsyth. They started married life in Dennyloanhead, before moving to the Raws in Logan Lea and then to Hillhead Avenue where she has remained to the present day.

After finishing her school education in Kilsyth, she began her working career in Stein’s brickworks in Allandale, before going on to serve as a cleaner in the Big House in Banknock, caring for Second World War evacuees.

Not one to shy away from hard graft, Mima carried on working until the age of 76 in the kitchen at Glenskirlie House.

When she wasn’t working or at the bingo hall with lifelong friend Margaret Kearney, Mima was looking after their eight children – Myra, who would have been 78 this year, John (75), Thomas (70), Anne (68), William (66), Bernadette (64), Peter (62) and Jim (60).

Mima is now a grandmother to 10 and also has eight great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

Having survived a world war and been witness to the birth of the NHS, she is well-placed to offer a sage piece of life advice to younger generations.

Mima said: “Keep working and tell the truth, those are the main things.”

Her daughter Bernadette added: “She’s been blessed with good health and a good life. We’re so proud of her.”