Kinghorn’s Auntie Nellie (94) begins a new chapter

Nellie and her granson Alan. Pics by FPA
Nellie and her granson Alan. Pics by FPA

Publishing a book is no easy task, but to do so at the grand age of 94 is an enormous achievement.

That’s just what Kinghorn’s beloved ‘Auntie Nellie’ as she is widely known, has done with the help of her grandson Alan Russell, an Edinburgh businessman.

Nellie Phillips

Nellie Phillips

And she has already sold over 150 copies to raise money for two local charities.

Auntie Nellie’s Memoirs is a collection of stories and annecdotes of Nellie Phillips’ life in Kinghorn, from her birth on February 29 (a leap year), growing up at the village leatherworks on the side of the loch, to Kinghorn during the war, her children and grandchildren and lots more about her life in the village.

Nellie, who has lived in Kinghorn all her life, was the youngest of seven children and her father was manager of the leatherworks on the edge of Kinghorn Loch.

After leaving school she worked in the chemists shop then the Co-op, but when war broke out she went to college in Edinburgh and trained to be an aircraft mechanic.

She showed great aptitude and worked her way up to become one of just a few female aircraft inspection engineers at Donibristle.

So what made her decide to publish a book at the age of 94?

“I am really only 23, as my birthday is on February 29,” explained the sharp-witted nonagenarian.

“I used to write for the Kinghorn Chronicle and I was always writing down stories from my past and I also raise money for charity, so this combines it all.

“I’ve had a wonderful childhood and a wonderful life and I wanted to let people know about it, so that’s how it all started.”

Alan, a business consultant, had the difficult task of sorting and collating his grandmother’s stories.

He said: “Grandma has been writing bits and pieces for years and it was last summer that we decided to bring it all together.

“The most difficult part was to make it all flow as a book, because she has so many different stories from different times in her life.

“She has certainly led a fascinating life and there are lots of aspects of Kinghorn and the people who lived here that local people will find interesting.”

Auntie Nellie is selling the book herself for £10 or £12 for a signed copy, and with the first 100 copies already sold out and the next 100 due for delivery today (Thursday), she is raising a good sum of money for both the Sick Children’s Hospital in Edinburgh, which helped save the life of her daughter, Joyce, and the Fife Hospice in Kirkcaldy where she is a regular visitor.

“They are both wonderful places which do so much to help, that I wanted to repay them by donating the procceds of my book to help their work,” she said.