100-year-old Margaret says the secret to a long life is ‘minding her own business, working hard and eating plenty of porridge’

Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Sean Bateson congratulates Margaret Gillan on her 100th Birthday. Picture: Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

A 100-year-old woman says the secret to her long life is ‘minding her own business’, ‘working hard’ and ‘eating plenty of porridge’.

Margaret Gillan, who is originally from Donegal but lives in Armoy, was born on December 9, 1919.

She was visited on her birthday by the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Sean Bateson.

Margaret said her longevity was down to a life of ‘minding her own business’, ‘working hard’ and ‘eating plenty of porridge’.

Among family members joining to toast the milestone, was her daughter Rita Brogan.

Speaking to Belfast Live, she said: “My mother worked all her life.

“She grew up near Gortahork before she got jobs in Derry and Strabane.

“Before that she would have worked on the farm with her family in Donegal, which would have been hard work at the time.”

“She lived a great life and really loved all of her children,” added Rita.

“It would not have been easy to be a mother through the Troubles in Northern Ireland but she always looked out for us.

“She also loved to knit and bake and she loved my father.”

Margaret married Bernard (Barney) Gillian in 1943, aged 24.

Bernard, who was also from Co Donegal, was a lollipop man in the Armoy area for 15 years. He passed away in 2010.

Rita said: “My father will have passed ten years this January and she loved him dearly.

“She misses him very much after being married for 67 years.

“And a few of my brothers came across from England for a birthday party last weekend and I think she has been overwhelmed with the amount of people that have congratulated her on the milestone.”

Mrs Gillan has 35 grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren.

Rita said: “My mother, Margaret, is a brilliant woman. She’s easy going and fun to be with and such a loving and caring person.”

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