Betty, 100, is star of party

CELEBRATING WITH BETTY: Front from left, great-grandson Charlie Gaya, daughter-in-law Veronica, Betty Black, great-granddaughter Kerry Gaya, son Colin, great-grandchildren Oscar and Jessica with their mother Sara Black, with family and friends at back

BETTY Black celebrated her 100th birthday in style on Sunday afternoon.

She was the star of her party, held in Hilltree Court, attended by friends and family members from far and wide.

Among those present were daughter Irene Shearer and son-in-law John; son Colin, and daughter-in-law Veronica; son Richard and daughter-in-law Sara; grandchildren Amanda Gaya, Oscar and Jessica Black; great-grandchildren Charlie and Kerry Gaya; and her brother Cecil Strang and his wife Evelyn.

Renfrewshire Deputy Lieutenant Beverley Craig read out a card from the Queen and East Renfrewshire Provost Jim Fletcher presented her with a bouquet of flowers.

Betty was born in Glasgow into the Jacobson and Sragowitz families, who were mainly Orthodox. Betty worked in the family butchers shop part-time and was a cheder teacher. She also had two sisters, Mamie and Bernice.

She met Oscar Black and then got notice that she was to go away for war service, so they hurriedly got married in a civil ceremony.

However, her parents, Fanny and Louis Sragowitz, wouldn’t allow the couple to live together until they had gone through the religious ceremony, which they did six months later. They married in 1941.

Oscar worked at the scientific instrument maker Barr and Stroud before becoming an ophthalmic optician. He purchased a practice in the east of the city at the end of the war.

When Irene and then Colin were born, Betty became a stay-at-home mum.

She sat the Civil Service exams when Colin was 16 and became a chief executive officer at the National Savings Bank, Cowglen. When Oscar needed her, she went into the practice until the mid-1980s when they retired.

Betty was treasurer of Children and Youth Aliyah and honorary president of Newton Mearns Bowling Club. She was the second-in-command at the 5th Giffnock Guides for many years and a significant supporter of Jewish Care Scotland, Cosgrove Care and the Targu Mures Trust.

Colin said: “Mum and Dad travelled extensively and had a network of friends they would meet up with in different places.

“For 30 years, we had a group family summer holiday for first, second, third and then four generations.

“After my dad died in 2012, Mum, reluctantly at first, started attending the JCS clubs. She now embraces and loves going, especially joining in with singing and dancing there.

“Her nickname among many friends was ‘battling Betty’. She has strong opinions, loves people and, fortunately, that seems to be reciprocated.”

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