'An amazing lady' turns 102
At 102, Margaret Brown has lived a full life, celebrating her birthday yesterday with friends and family.
The Redwood Lifestyle and Care Village resident moved into the centre only at the age of 99 under much protest, according to her eldest granddaughter Debbie Alexander. Before that she had maintained a flat of her own, requiring only a carer to help her out.
"She is an amazing lady," said Ms Alexander, who has particularly fond memories of her grandmother's baking.
"She has done so much in her life and always kept busy - she has never been idle."
One of 14 children, Mrs Brown was born in 1910 in Killinchy, south of Christchurch, married stockman Eric Brown and they spent much of their married life in Wellington.
Unlike many women of her era, she did not stay at home but worked as a cleaner in Parliament for about 40 years. Even after retiring she worked part-time in a bakery in Otane in Hawkes Bay.
"She was an amazing baker, really gifted," said youngest son Steve Brown. "She has never been one to sit around and do nothing, and I think that is her secret to such a long life."
Mr Brown said despite being so busy, his mum had always been devoted to her family.
He and his niece remember her always coming to sport events to support the children and grandchildren with plenty of her delicious, signature shortbread.
"That shortbread was amazing. I always used to look forward to seeing Gran and . . . have some of her delicious baked goodies," Ms Alexander said.
Mrs Brown's friends and family also spoke highly of how she never complained, and how she loved animals, especially cats, as well as gardening and dancing.
She has five children, two of whom have died, 17 grandchildren, 21 great- grandchildren and 12 great-great-grandchildren.
The Marlborough Express