A century of highs and lows, where tragedy turned into a love story was celebrated.
It is the life of Upper Riccarton woman Maude Stanbury, who turned 100 on Thursday.
She received her letter from the Queen on Monday but didn’t open it until her special day.
The secret to her longevity?
“Porridge every morning,” said her husband of 30 years Keith Stanbury.
Though these days Mrs Stanbury doesn’t always remember her life’s adventures, Mr Stanbury, 96, remembered how they first met, after being widowed.
“My wife at the time died from liver cancer and Maude’s husband had an accident at work,” Mr Stanbury said.
To seek comfort from their losses, they both joined the Widows and Widowers Association.
“We were seated together at a meeting and started chatting. We found we knew much the same people, had similar interests and we were both Christians,” he said.
After the meeting, he offered her a ride and it turned out they both lived on the same block. They often ran into each other and became friends.
“It wasn’t long before we
started talking about getting married. We were together just over a year before marrying.”
Mrs Stanbury has never been one for reliving old stories, preferring to live in the present.
“She never talked about reaching a century, one doesn’t know what will happen in the next ten seconds,” Mr Stanbury said.
To mark the special occasion, there were two birthday parties on the day. The morning event put on by her retirement village, The Oaks, had about 80
attendees. And in the afternoon, a family event had 40 guests.
She has a son and a daughter, both from her first marriage, and one granddaughter.
As for the future? There won’t be much planning, said Mr Stanbury, as living in the present is what got her to a 100 years of life.