Beatrice continues to live a very active life
Greystones lady Beatrice Gunning may have been born way back in December of 1924, but she is still one of the most active people in the local community. Even from when she was a young girl, Beatrice always loved to keep herself busy and amused with activities.She was born and reared in the house where she still lives in Malvern in La Touche Place, along with her brother Liam Th
Greystones lady Beatrice Gunning may have been born way back in December of 1924, but she is still one of the most active people in the local community. Even from when she was a young girl, Beatrice always loved to keep herself busy and amused with activities.
She was born and reared in the house where she still lives in Malvern in La Touche Place, along with her brother Liam Thompson (who now lives in New Zealand) and sister Sybil Bradley (who resides in Canada). 'I've been to visit them both a good bit, which was lovely because I adore travelling and have to many places all over the world. But in 1993 we organised a family reunion which was held in the family home here - we hadn't all been together in 40 years so that was quite emotional,' she reveals.
Beatrice began her education in the local National School that was demolished long ago. She then went to Wesley College in Dublin and when studying there she auditioned for Turner Hegarty and sang in the choir.
She then went on to study in Barnes Academy. In 1940 Beatrice got her first job in McFarlands Grocery Store (now A.I.B.) , where she did the book-keeping. With a keen interest in law, Beatrice then found employment with a barrister, Michael McGilligan, where she was a dictaphone typist. Not staying long, Beatrice then joined Molloy Fayle and Co Solicitors.
In 1951, on April 23, Beatrice Thompson married John Gunning and the couple celebrated their fifty-third wedding anniversary in April. 'In those days women were not expected to continue working after they got married so I left my job and decided to concentrate on bringing up a family,' says Beatrice. Herself and her husband have four grown-up children Alvin, Ian, Roberta and Avril. They also have four grandchildren, who they both adore.
It was easy for Beatrice to give up work while rearing her children because she had and still has so many hobbies and interests, one of them being cooking. 'I adore cooking. I just love experimenting with new recipes and making up my own. It's a fabulous way to spend your time,' smiles Beatrice.
She is famous for her spectacular wedding cakes which many people from Bray and Greystones have experienced over the years. Beatrice still makes wedding cakes and other cakes for many different occasions and insists that she'll continue to do so for as long as she can.
In 1965, Beatrice returned to work where she was made 'Calling Out Officer' up until the late 70s at the Fire Engine base, which is located beside her home.
She is a founding member of Greystones and District Credit Union which is now in its thirty-fifth of service. A number of years ago Beatrice was nominated for the Credit Union Person of the Year award, while she was also awarded the Pauline Cottinger Award for long and dedicated voluntary service to the Greystones Credit Union.
Not long after that, Beatrice then attended the Dail for two days while the Credit Union taxation proposals were debated on the floor of the house. She also visited the World Forum of Credit Unions in Nashville in Tennessee. It was a nine day visit where Beatrice about 100 other Irish people from various credit unions got to meet many people from all over the world while they carried the national flag.
In the 1980s, Beatrice dedicated a lot of her time to committees and groups all over Greystones. She was treasurer of the Greystones Civic Association; supervisor in St. David's School; she ran the member's draw for St. David's 300 club and she was part of the fundraising committee for St. Brigid's School!
In 1999 Beatrice became chairperson of Greystones and District Active Retirement and is now their current secretary. 'I love being part of GARA,' says Beatrice. 'It's a wonderful organisation for older people and we have a huge range of activities and classes for our members. I also help organise social events and the holidays, which I really enjoy doing because I love mingling with people and travelling is one of my favourite past-times.'
Speaking of hobbies, Beatrice shares her love of bridge and whist and she formed the Sugarloaf Bridge Club back in 1997. She also loves singing and is probably most famous for her rendition of 'The Rose of Tralee'.
'That song is beautiful - it's such a pleasure to sing and I just love music in general and I always have,' she says.
Beatrice has a huge heart because along with her voluntary work in the credit union and GARA she also organises an annual collection for Enable Ireland, Aware and as a child she did some fundraising for the Life Boat.
When asked if she'll ever take it easy to enjoy the latter years of her life she says, 'I am enjoying my life right now and I'll keep going until there is nothing left in me to go!'