Big 102nd birthday for great-great-gran

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She might have turned 102 years old, but Nellie McGowan still has plenty of pep in her step.

Mrs McGowan celebrated her big milestone at her home surrounded by family and friends on Saturday.

“There have been lots of phone calls today and family have travelled from Dunedin, Christchurch and Fairlie,” Mrs McGowan said.

She lives alone at her home in Gore where she does everything for herself and is an avid baker.

Her favourite pastimes are playing cards twice a week, attending the senior citizens meeting on Thursdays, tidying the leaves in her garden and watching sport on television.

“I follow a lot of sport. I like the Black Caps, all the football, tennis, netball, rugby and ice skating,” she said.

Mrs McGowan played outdoor and indoor bowls until she was well into her 80s.

She moved to Gore 31 years ago from Mataura, where she and her late husband Chappie built their own home.

Together they raised their son Russell and were dedicated members of the Mataura Gun Club.

“We went to all the shoots there and I made the lunch and sandwiches for them there for 25 years,” she said.

Her husband was secretary of the club for 28 years and her son competed at the Commonwealth Games in 1990.

She worked various jobs in shops while looking after her son, she said.

When Mrs McGowan was 94, she travelled with her family to Bali where she spent most of her time playing at the water parks and swimming, she said.

“It was a lot of fun.”

Born in Wyndham, Mrs McGowan had 10 siblings – six sisters and four brothers.

She was the youngest girl in the family and was the only one still alive.

Alongside her son, Mrs McGowan has two grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

She plans to meet her latest great-great-grandchild when she travels to Queenstown next month.