Landgirl who led an inspirational life celebrates her 100th birthday

A former landgirl has celebrated her 100th birthday under lockdown today (Saturday).

Sheila Knott celebrating her centenary. EMN-210901-191435001

Sheila Knott has lived for seven years at Holmleigh care home in Navenby and just recently moved to Apple Trees care home in Grantham.

Son Alistair Knott, 57, of Hough on the Hill said: “Lockdown has been so hard but Apple Trees have been fantastic, and Jackie and I would like to extend our thanks to all of the staff there.

“We are pretty confident that she ain’t finished any time soon!”

Sheila Knott with son Alistair. EMN-210901-191403001

As well as Alistair, she has a daughter Jackie, 56.

He has two children, Cameron, 22, and Katie, 20.

Born in Edinburgh, Sheila has had an amazing life. When the Second World War broke out, she was 18 and immediately joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment at Elsie Inglis Maternity Hospital, Edinburgh, and then Edinburgh Royal Infirmary to start a full nurse’s training. However, her father, a Civil Servant looking after disadvantaged children, was sent to the Home Office in London, so she decided to join them.

Alistair said: “She joined the Land Army in 1941 and worked for the Surrey War Committee for eight years during which time she married for the first time in 1942. She drove all types of machinery including heavy lorries. She also had a Matchless motorbike with a side-car!

Sheila Knott with some of her family. EMN-210901-191413001

“After release from the Land Army, mum and her first husband divorced and mum went to Bordeaux, looking after four children in order to refresh her French which was her favourite subject at school.”

She went to St Columba’s School, Kilmacolm and St Felix School in Southwold.

Sheila then went to secretarial college in London where she worked until she re-married in 1961.

“In 1969, we all moved back to Scotland where mum and dad ran a small farm,” said Alistair. “Unfortunately, dad died in early 1982 by which time he had moved mum to Fife and until 2014, she thrived, running a Bed and Breakfast, learning and playing the keyboard in public, and was secretary to the local Scottish Women’s Institute including driving people everywhere.

Scotswoman at heart. Sheila and Alistair at John O'Groats. EMN-210901-191424001

“In 2014, mum decided it was time to move here to be more local and has been part of our lives ever since.”

Sheila's message from the Queen. EMN-210901-191445001