Sylvia meets her 95th grandchild

00:16, Jul 11 2014
Sylvia Baylis
FIFTH GENERATION: Blenheim woman Sylvia Baylis, 94, right, with her daughter Dianne Storey. Sylvia last week met her first great-great-grandchild, who is her 95th grandchild.

A Blenheim woman has met her 95th grandchild in her 95th year.

Sylvia Baylis' first great-great-grandchild Lilly-Mae Larsen, seven months, arrived about 50 years after her first grandchild was born.

Lilly-Mae and her mother travelled from Kaitaia to Blenheim last week, creating the opportunity for five generations of their family to be in one room for the first time.

Sylvia lives in Bethsaida Retirement Village, and is due to turn 95 in December, having spent most of her life caring for children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and even other people's children.

Three of her eight children live in Blenheim, while a great proportion of her family are spread across New Zealand and the world.

Her seventh child, Dianne Storey, said her mother was a nanny before dedicating her time to her own children.


"She was [a] fantastic [mother]; really, really good. She was a giving mum, she always made sure all of us kids were well fed and well dressed, even during the war. It must have been tough," Dianne said.

Sylvia's memory is starting to fail her, but years of motherhood have made her a creature of habit, she said.

"I've always got my pinny on, that's something to put in the book," Sylvia said.

She was from a family of four girls born in Christchurch, and spent time in Ashburton before bringing her own children up back in Christchurch.

After their father died, Sylvia reconnected with her first-ever boyfriend by chance, and made the move to Blenheim where she married him.

The Marlborough Express