A GREAT grandmother who grew up in Egypt and speaks five languages has celebrated her 100th birthday at home in Winterbourne.
Egizia Harrison marked her centenary on Monday (February 17) with two parties for families and friends and a card from The Queen.
Mrs Harrison, the daughter of Italian and Maltese immigrants, was born Egizia Galea and grew up in Alexandria, on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast. Educated by French nuns, she spoke Italian at home and learned Arabic, Greek and English.
No stranger to hard work, she helped bring up her five brothers and was a nanny before meeting her English husband Reg Harrison when he was stationed at RAF Aboukir, seven miles from her home city. They married on the base in 1937, had two daughters Jean and Rose, and travelled the world with the forces for 27 years before settling in Filton.
Rose said: “They went to some very interesting places and we went with them.
“She has been the most wonderful wife and mother.”
Mrs Harrison moved to Beacon Lane in Winterbourne in 1963 and then to Dragon Road where she lived for 30 years. Her husband died in 1993 but Mrs Harrison continued to live on her own, enjoying gardening, cooking, needlework and looking after her treasured cat Thomas, until the age of 98.
After a fall two years ago in which she lost much of the feeling in her hands, she moved in with daughter Jean on Parkside Avenue. She has three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
“She doesn’t drink or smoke and she is a very contented person,” said Rose. “She has always surrounded by people who love her and she never fell out with my father in 56 years of marriage.”
Mrs Harrison told the Gazette: “There is nothing I want and nothing I wish for. If everyone had the same life I had everybody would be a lot better.
“I have been very lucky and I couldn’t do without my family.”
She added: “To me turning 100 is just another birthday. I just wish I wasn’t impaired by my hands.
“Maybe my time has come to sit down and do nothing.”