An ode to Age Concern

17:00, Jul 17 2013
 Sue Lane, right, with Takapuna poet Phyllis Gibson, 90.
LITERATURE LOVE: Age Concern Visiting Service volunteer Sue Lane, right, with Takapuna poet Phyllis Gibson, 90.

Phyllis Gibson's gift for poetry has flown under the radar for most of her 90 years.

The Takapuna writer has just released her first book Crossroads, a lifetime's worth of poems kept in journals that not even her family knew about until now.

She hopes it will give her three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren a window into her life.

Mrs Gibson credits Age Concern volunteer Sue Lane with making the book possible. The pair worked for six months to produce it after being introduced through the Age Concern Visiting Service.

Service volunteers provide regular care and companionship to elderly clients referred to Age Concern by Waitemata DHB needs assessors.

Co-ordinator Ros Capper matches clients with volunteers who share similar interests and personalities.


"I had been offered help before but hadn't accepted, I suppose I was afraid we wouldn't get along. But Sue and I, right from the first moment we clicked," Mrs Gibson says.

A shared love of literature has seen the two become close friends.

Ms Lane now visits at least once a week.

"One day we were sitting looking out the window and Phyllis suddenly burst into verse - a poem about a tui.

"I was so impressed and discovered she had loads of poems written down."

The pair got to work compiling Mrs Gibson's favourites, some dating back to her childhood

One of her paintings is on the front cover.

Mrs Gibson returned to university in her 80s and attended writing groups with well-known authors.

She hopes to release a second book with Ms Lane.

Call Sue Lane 446 6034 to buy a copy of the book.

North Shore Times