'Livewire' Gladys waltzes her way to 104

KICKING ON: Gladys Bird turned 104 yesterday with family and friends surrounding her.
KICKING ON: Gladys Bird turned 104 yesterday with family and friends surrounding her.

Waitara woman Gladys Bird was showing no signs of slowing down as she celebrated her 104th birthday yesterday.

The festivities, for the woman believed to be the oldest in Taranaki, began at Norfolk Lodge Rest Home with a morning tea, cake and the obligatory happy birthday sing-a-long.

In the afternoon Gladys spent time with her family, including her two daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"I don't know what I'll be like tonight," Mrs Bird joked. "Thank-you everybody for going to all this trouble."

Although she wasn't giving away any of her secrets of living a long life she did say looking after children and dancing had helped keep her young at heart.

"I'm the eldest of eight and I'm the only one living. I have had a pretty good life. It's sad that I haven't got my husband here."

Mrs Bird said she and her late husband enjoyed going out dancing. "We had a great time, he liked dancing and I liked dancing and we used to go to all of the dances.

"We had so many, I don't know how we used to do them all."

Staff and residents at Norfolk Lodge described Mrs Bird as a "real live wire" with a cheeky sense of humour.

Arthur Topless, 90, said he had known her for about 60 years and remembered when she owned Birds' Gift Shop in the town.

"She's had a good innings, I've had a good innings, we all have had a good innings and we are bloody lucky to be here."

Gladys said she still enjoyed reading the Taranaki Daily News. "I get it every morning, it's brought into my room."

Taranaki Daily News