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Keeping busy at 100

Florence Darwin celebrated her 100th birthday with five generations of the family. John Gass
Florence Darwin celebrated her 100th birthday with five generations of the family. John Gass

FLORENCE Darwin's father was a strong-willed, hard-working miner in England's north and her mother was a vivacious star of the London stage as a member of the Beaumont Belles dancing troupe.

Both parents instilled in their daughter to never be afraid of hard work and appreciate all that life has to offer.

Those traits are still with Mrs Darwin, who yesterday celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends at Bupa Aged Care at Banora Point.

Dicky legs certainly restrict Mrs Darwin's movements these days, but her mind is as sharp as a tack and she is always busy "doing something".

Her ability to recite poetry amazes everyone at Bupa Aged Care - she'll happily recite one of her huge repertoire of poems at the drop of a hat, never missing a word or the right inflection.

"Flo still loves reading, she never misses a bingo session or a game of table-bobs and is always one of the first in the queue when we have our small trips away from the centre to go out for a meal," said Alison Ahearn, an assistant in nursing.

Ms Ahearn also did a fine job in researching Mrs Darwin's life history, which she recounted while welcoming everyone to the birthday party.

A very special guest was Mrs Darwin's eldest daughter Betty, who flew out from England to help her mum celebrate the milestone. Mrs Darwin and her husband Herbert had five children - Betty, Pat, Margaret, Trevor and Barry - and there are now 13 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great-grandchildren.

Mr and Mrs Darwin immigrated to Australia in 1971, following in the footsteps of Margaret and Trevor and their spouses who had emigrated in the late '60s.

The Darwins settled in Sydney but a few years after Herbert died in 1981, Mrs Darwin moved to Banora Point to be closer to Trevor and Margaret and their families.

Sadly, over the past couple of years both Margaret, Trevor and Pat passed away in England.

Mrs Darwin was able to stay in her home until January last year when her lack of mobility persuaded her to make the move into Bupa Aged Care.

Local state member Geoff Provest presented letters of congratulations to Mrs Darwin from Queen Elizabeth II, Governor-General Quentin Bryce, NSW Governor Marie Bashir, PM Julia Gillard and NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell.

Both parents instilled in their daughter to never be afraid of hard work and appreciate all that life has to offer.



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