Best 103rd birthday pressie? A chat
What do you want for your 103rd birthday?
According to Blenheim woman Betty Fleming, just someone to talk to.
The former Seddon resident who turns 103 at the end of this month said she was looking forward to a quiet celebration with her family.
"I don't want presents and things, I just want somebody to talk to, even if they might be a bit bored with my chatter."
Staying active is important to Mrs Fleming, who has an older sister who turned 108 earlier this year.
After a lifetime of farming near Seddon, Mrs Fleming was keen not to slow down when she moved into an apartment at Ashwood Retirement Village in Blenheim this year.
However, when she began to lose her sight she had to stop traditions such as her daily trip to town on the bus, or tending her garden and despite being an annual visitor she was unable to attend the 101st and final Seddon flower show on the weekend.
Instead, to help keep active, Mrs Seddon joined the Totara Club - a social group for elderly people run by Presbyterian Support - and has been going to Friday meetings of the club for the last three months.
The meetings were a great way to meet people as many of her friends had not made it to her age, and to keep active doing something different, she said.
"It's just a friendly day, nice to chat and in the afternoons sometimes we go out in the van."
Totara Club Marlborough co-ordinator Libby MacAskill said the club runs five days a week aiming to provide company and activities for older, isolated people who wanted to stay socially active.
The 72 members are divided into groups of about 15 who meet once a week. Most of the members are 65 and older, funded by the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, although there were a handful of members in their 50s, she said.
The clients are picked up in the morning and enjoy morning tea and lunch together along with games and a chance to talk and socialise.
Sometimes they have guest speakers or go on outings or picnics and some members garden in the club vegetable garden, but mostly it was about friendship and a good laugh, she said.
"You become almost like a bit of a family, an extended family."
- The Marlborough Express