On Saturday Annie must have felt what it is like to be HM The Queen, as she celebrated her birthday for the second time.
A hundred years young during the week, her official birthday was a quiet affair compared to the party held at Ardlough Nursing Home on Saturday, when five generations of the family celebrated along with friends and guests, who included Rev David McBeth and the Mayor of Londonderry and Strabane, Elisha McCallion, who presented Annie with her Telegram from The Queen.
Born at the Top of The Hill in 1915, Annie was the daughter of Samuel and Martha Jane Moore. She was one of 10 children: She had two sisters, Martha and Violent and seven brothers, William, Jim, Johnny, Eddie, Bobby and David.
Annie attended Waterside Presbyterian Church and school and left there aged 14 to start in Hamilton’s shirt factory, where she worked until she married at the age of 22, having fallen for George Molloy. In those days you could not marry of your own volition until you were 21; any younger than that and your father would have to ‘sign for you’ at the local court house.
George was a mechanic in Tillies Shirt Factory and the pair tied the knot on December 23, 1937, an the couple had their first child, Jackie. The time was tinged with angst, as George went off to war with the Royal Artillery Fusiliers. Thankfully he returned, and resumed work at the shirt factory and at the end of 1946 the couple’s second child, another son, George, was born. Daphne and Anne followed the two boys.
Prior to her marriage Annie had been a faithful member of the Presbyterian Church, but migrated to St Columb’s Cathedral upon her marriage. The couple spent most of their married life living in Albert Street in The Fountain, where five families of Molloys lived in the one street. But, while renovation work took place the family moved to the Waterside. When George died Annie moved back to Irish Street, where she was born and raised.
In addition to being a devoted mother, Annie has 12 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren, Jack and Grace.
A passionate and gifted knitter, every generation of her family was lovingly swaddled in her woollen creations. She is a member of Caw Luncheon Club, where her grad-daughter, Lorraine, is the cook, and she loves to play Bingo on a Wednesday evening.
In her early days as a mother Annie recalled how she and her daughters would ride to church in a horse and trap, driven by her husband, while her boys walked beside them. Annie is now a member of Clooney Hall Methodist Church, where she is fondly regarded.
Speaking on behalf of their mother, Anne and Daphne said: “When our mother was brought up in Irish Street there was no running water in the house and no lights. There was an outside toilet in the back of the garden.
“Mum was in her 60s when she went to work for the Army officers at Ebrington and she walked to and from her work every day, starting out before 7am every day. When she decided she wanted to leave they begged her to stay and they made her a kind of housekeeper to two officers until she retired.
“Our mother has travelled greatly, including to Canada and to New York and around NY State, which she did in her 60s, but she loves Portrush, where she took us as children every year on holiday.”
The Molloy family have thanked everyone who attended Annie’s birthday party, particularly the staff members who gave so much of their time and organised the party.
They also wish to thank the Mayor, Rev Murray, Linda Watson and Drew Thompson for sharing her day and everyone who brought gifts or made donations in lieu of gifts.
They also thanked HM Lord Lieutenant for the City Borough of Londonderry, Dr Angela Garvey and the First Minister, Peter Robinson, for their best wishes, and not least HM The Queen who sent a Telegram congratulating Annie on her milestone birthday.
See Londonderry Sentinel on November 11 for more party photographs.