MANY happy returns have been wished to Mary Ann Higgins of Union Lodge, Moneyglass, who turned 100 on November 28.
Known as ‘Nan’, she was born near Cloughmills, one of the eight children of Alex and Annie Higgins.
The family moved to Moneyglass in the early 1920s, assisted by some of their Cloughmills neighbours, who helped them negotiate Roguery Hill with livestock and horses and carts.
Mary Ann attended Gortgill School and has had great lifelong friends in the Boardmans, the Murrays, the McErleans and the McBrides.
She worked hard in the family farm business, keeping house, looking after animals, and caring for her extended family.
Mary Ann always had a great head for facts and figures, managing the farm paperwork and VAT returns well into her 80s.
If anyone needed to know a family member or friend’s birthday, they were always told to ‘Go ask your Aunt Nan.’
A card sharp, she was a regular at Whist Drives in Moneyglass and later in Ballyscullion Hall.
Many people locally have fond memories of her serving tea at the old Toome Carnival or coming to the potato field with hot sweet tea in mineral bottles wrapped up in newspaper.
Her nephew John Scullin and late niece Maura Scullin were reared with her and regarded her as a second mother.
All her nieces and nephews have very happy memories of being at Union Lodge with Mary Ann, even when ‘tested’ them to see how they were getting on at school, as a great believer in the 11+ exams.
A keen knitter, there was always some of Aunt Nan’s handiwork in the family Christmas stockings.
She loved her garden and greenhouse and kept the whole family circle well supplied with rhubarb jam.
Now living with her nephew John and his family, she is in good health and good heart, and her family and friends wish her a very happy 100th birthday, with the hope of a good few birthday celebrations still to come!
Nan still lives opposite her own home with John and his sons Brian and Gary.
John’s brother Alex Scullin has also been involved with her care for a number of years with his daughters Sinead and Helen.
She also loves her daily visits from her One2One carers.