Time to put the feet up

JESS LEE
Last updated 05:00 09/11/2012
Lillian Langton
JASON OXENHAM/ Fairfax NZ
ZEST FOR LIFE: Pt Chevalier resident Lillian Langton is celebrating her 100th birthday today.

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Lillian Langton is not used to living life in the slow lane.

But after finally retiring just two years ago, this Scotland-born "livewire" is going to take things easy today as she celebrates her 100th birthday.

Mrs Langton clocked up 34 years as a driver and team leader for Meals on Wheels, serving up her last dinner at the ripe old age of 98 and only giving up her vehicle a year later.

But the centenarian is modest about her achievements.

"I just wanted something to do. I wanted a bit of a challenge and I really liked being out in my car."

Keeping up an active lifestyle is the secret to a long life, she says.

In 2009 former governor-general Sir Anand Satyanand presented the then 97-year-old with a prize recognising her commitment to staying fit at the Osteoporosis New Zealand You Deserve a Medal awards.

Mrs Langton played indoor bowls once a week, attended regular fitness classes and was partial to the odd game of midnight golf.

But the rest is down to genes, she says.

"My grandfather lived until he was 84 and in those days that was a long time, that's where I'm pretty sure it came from."

The Pt Chevalier resident has come a long way in 100 years, moving from Scotland to Auckland in 1948 with her first husband.

They had a lucky escape after the plane they had flown in to New Zealand crashed on its return to Scotland killing everyone on board.

A love of travel saw her touch down in San Francisco, Honolulu, Australia and Norfolk Island, but trips to India and China are still on her list.

Mrs Langton settled in Blockhouse Bay for 30 years after periods living in Pt Chevalier and Mt Eden.

There have been tremendous changes in that time - particularly with people's morals, she says.

"All those things people get up to I could smack their bottoms."

Longtime friend June Tunnard has known Mrs Langton since she arrived in Pt Chevalier in 1948 and has taken over as team leader for Meals on Wheels.

The vivacious Scot hasn't changed a bit, she says.

"She is an absolute inspiration and has amazed me all my life."

Auckland Meals on Wheels co-ordinator Karen Clare presented Mrs Langton with an award last week for her years of service and says she has been a tough act to follow.

"She was very, very good at it. Nothing was ever any trouble," she says.

"It's unusual to have someone involved for so long, but it's particularly unusual considering she only retired last year at 98 years old."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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