A Larkhall lady who was renowned for her baking has enjoyed a very special cake – one for her 100th birthday.


Ella Murray celebrated her momentous birthday at Avonbridge Care Home, Hamilton, having moved there in January after moving out of Larkhall for the first time at the age of 99 years and 8 months.

Among the well-wishers at her celebrations were South Lanarkshire Provost Margaret Cooper, who brought Ella a bouquet of flowers, and Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Lanarkshire Dr William Morrison Young DL, who passed on Royal congratulations and handed over a 100th birthday card from the newly-crowned King Charles, with both dignitaries also presenting Ella with commemorative certificates to mark such a wonderful birthday.

Born and brought up in Larkhall, Ella was the only daughter of a mining family, her father being a fireman in the local colliery.

She was a clever girl, great with numbers, and her parents wanted her to stay on at school. However, she insisted on leaving, working first in Templeton’s and then in Frame’s Bakers in Larkhall, becoming well known locally as a result.

Ella was also a lively girl who enjoyed dancing and went regularly to Stonehouse Village Hall. It was there that she met her husband, Jim – who worked for Rolls Royce, in East Kilbride, and came from Canderside Toll – as well as her lifelong friend, Babs, with whom the couple later enjoyed regular holidays.

The couple were married for 57 years and had four children, Nancy, Barbara, William and Elinor – all of whom were encouraged to stay on at school, with Elinor and William progressing to work with the bank and Nancy and Barbara with the Civil Service.

Ella has four adored grandchildren: Chris and Laura who travelled over from Canada and Iceland respectively, and Jennifer and Elizabeth who came up from Yorkshire for the celebrations and brought Ella’s first great-grandchild, Archie, who is just a year old.

Ella has also enjoyed the benefit of extended family with grandchildren and great grandchildren from the remarriages of Barbara and William, and enjoyed many long family holidays in Kent with Barbara and Pete, and Nancy and David, and also several trips to Dubai to holiday with Elinor and Stewart.

Despite spending so much of her life working in a baker’s shop, Ella still baked in her spare time for pleasure, every weekend, and her home baking was legendary – always for the family and often for Shows of Presents. The family all remember fondly her apple cakes, coconut cakes, vermicelli, krispy cakes and other chocolate fancies.

Ella was able to stay in her own home until she was 99 years, largely due to William and Sandra living locally, although the family were also hugely grateful for the care she received from the Care Services, especially for the work they did to help her through the Covid pandemic.

After a fall, however, Ella needed a little more assistance and moved to Avonbridge Care Home in January, where the family have been delighted to see how well she has settled into what already feels like home.

Even more than her baking, however, her family sum up Ella as a devoted mum and grandmother, with many years of baby-sitting and child-minding under her belt, and so it was fitting for so many of her family and good friends to gather with her for her big day.

Posted by Gavin Whitefield