MARY Devitt coloured her hair until about six months ago – but now she’s letting it go grey at the age of 95.

When asked what colour her hair was, she quickly quips: “It was grey like a mousy’s diddy.”

Her snappy lines, delivered in an Irish lilt while sitting in her sheltered housing complex, are fired out as easily to some questions as “I don’t remember” are to others. Easily forgiven after nine decades.

As reported last week in the Post, Mary was robbed of £2,500 from her savings by someone she trusted, Catherine Freel, a warden at the Old Kilpatrick facility.

Mary was “devastated” by the betrayal, says her great niece, Janice Hall. But Mary now says: “I have forgotten about it. I got the money back. We are turning a corner.”

Mary has had a full life and still sticks to her old Irish rules of never wearing trousers or going to the pub.

She was born Mary McNeill to Mammy Frances Byers and Joseph McNeill in Co Cavan in 1923 and grew up on a small farm with her brother Arthur and dog Nap.

“I like my independence,” says Mary today. “I’m quite fiercely independent. I don’t want carers doing anything. It comes from being on a farm doing everything.”

In 1962, Pat Devitt was a Merchant seaman and, when his ship broke down, he ended up in the right place to meet Mary.

She says they first met at the docks but admits their first encounter could have been at a market where she would sell eggs to buy flour and other supplies.

“When he said he had the same birthday – May 22 – I thought he was chatting me up,” says Mary.

“He was a real charmer – a perfect gentleman. We had a wonderful life together.”

The pair would go to dance halls “practically every night” for a twirl round the ballroom, as Pat was trained by the great choreographer and band leader Victor Silvester.

Pat was known as “half-crown uncle” for bringing a half crown with him when he came off the boat.

Mary worked as a housekeeper for a time and also spent 10 years in a government training centre. “I didn’t do anything except meet people,” Mary says, playing down her training centre role.

Pat, meanwhile, worked at the water board.

In 1972, Pat was in a serious car accident and required months of treatment in hospital.

It was then the couple decided to get married – after 10 years together.

Janice says Pat decided to marry to ensure Mary’s interests would be protected if anything happened to him. But he recovered and they were soon back at the dancing.

The couple used to travel with a caravan around Britain as well as visiting family in New Zealand for up to six months at a time.

They moved to St Alban’s to look after Pat’s sister May, who was bedridden and passed away in 2000, and then moved to Lowestoft, Suffolk.

For the last 10 years of his life, Mary cared for Pat as he slipped into dementia before dying in 2010 from asbestosis.

“Pat used to say, ‘It’s just “devil” if you don’t cross the Ts’.

“I miss Pat dreadfully,” admits Mary. “I hate being on my own.”

Five years ago Mary moved to Old Kilpatrick to be closer to Janice and her husband.

Initially she was out every day in all weather at the shops, chatting to residents outside the Keystore.

But, lately, sciatica has kept her largely housebound. She now has three carers who regularly pop in and Mary is torn between her independent streak and reluctantly accepting support.

Last August, a fall left her with cracked ribs and a punctured lung.

She spent seven weeks in hospital and Janice describes Mary’s ordeal as her being “more or less brought back from the dead”.

“A year later she is still living on her own,” she adds.

Janice started a tea and toast club at the sheltered housing complex as part of her studies in Clydebank at West College Scotland.

She says there is good camaraderie among residents and praised Mary’s carers.

“They are an amazing lifeline to clients such as Mary,” adds Janice.

Though there is the small minority who take advantage of the elderly, Mary accepts it’s “probably okay to ask for help” from others.

Mary adds: “When the other women come in, I’m looking after them. I’m their carer. I like looking after people.”