Hundreth birthday falls under lockdown

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Gore resident Edna Dickson has a reason to celebrate that most can only wish they will have.

She turned 100 years old on April 21.

Her daughter Glenice Herbert said that they had managed to mark the day despite lockdown restrictions.

“The staff [at Parata Resthome] did wonderfully well,” Mrs Herbert said.

“I wasn’t allowed to go in but I stood at the door.

“We sung Happy Birthday

“She had a special cake, although I wasn’t allowed to make it.”

The cake was decorated to look like knitting, a hobby her mother enjoyed.

Her mother was “always bright and pretty breezy,” Mrs Herbert said.

Her mother’s advice for those hoping to reach her milestone was to lead a healthy lifestyle and eat home-cooked meals.

She also said it was important to work hard and be interested in your work.

Plenty had changed since Mrs Dickson was young, her daughter said.

In particular, transportation had changed.

“As a girl she travelled to school by horse and gig.”

Steam power ruled the railways.

As she grew older the technology developed to travel faster and further outer space.

The price of land had changed too. Mrs Dickson could remember her father buying land in Waimea for three pounds an acre.

It was much harder to think of things that had stayed the same.

However some things in Mrs Dickson’s own life remained constant.

“She has always lived within about 30km from where she was born,” Mrs Herbert said.

Mrs Dickson was born in Waipounamu at the family farm Altrive.

She had also lived in Wendon before moving to Gore.

“She is a real Southlander.” Family had also been a constant in Mrs Dickson’s life.

“Mum’s a lover of family,” Mrs Herbert said.

“She was the eighth in a family of nine children.” She married Wink Dickson in 1942 and had four children of her own.

Today she has seven grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

“She does a lot of knitting soft toys … She knits for her great-grandchildren and other people’s children.”

Family from across New Zealand, the UK and Australia had planned to come together and celebrate Mrs Dickson’s big day with her.

This had not been possible because of the Covid-19 lockdown and travel restrictions.

Some family members had made Skype calls instead, she said.

Grandchildren and great-grandchildren had also sent birthday cards.

They were in good company.

“She had a letter from the queen.”