Patricia (Pat) Howells resides happily and independently in a villa all to herself at Oak Tree Retirement Village Skye and this month turns an amazing 100 years old.
Born in the little village of Whittington, Lichfield in England on July 29th, 1916 her father was stationed in Germany fighting the enemy and “I bet my mother thought she was doing the same giving birth to me,” she jokes.
Reflecting on her long life of many ups and downs, Pat recounts numerous moves in her time, largely the result of her father being restationed with the Army.
“When I was about four years old my dad returned home from overseas and was stationed in Blackdown in Southern England.
“It was here where I remember one of my fondest memories – I got the opportunity to present Queen Mary, The Queen’s grandmother, a bouquet of flowers.”
Four years later the family moved to Northern Ireland.
“My father later left the Army after having been enlisted since the age of 14 and we moved back to England where I lived with my Grandparents and my parents moved to Manchester so that dad could find work.
“I got my first job as a Milliner Apprentice when I was 14 years old and later worked as a Window Dresser and it was around this time I met my future husband,” said Pat.
The couple met on New Year’s Day on a tram and married four years later on New Year’s Day.
“I remember it was very cold and snowing and my husband slipped on ice outside the church and my dad said he was trying to get away from me!” she laughs.
“We came to Australia in 1974 for a holiday and loved what we saw so came to live here in 1979.
“I have 8 children, 18 grandchildren, 28 great grandchildren and can’t quite remember how many great great grand children – Every day I wake up and thank the lord that I have my family and my friends around me.”
Asked for the secret to a long life she says “it all comes down to good wholesome living – no smoking, no drinking and exercise.
“Everything in the world has changed – transport, the amount of cars on the roads, the size of the roads, air travel, heating and lighting has gone from coal and gas to electric, microwaves; the biggest changes are in technology with tv’s, computers and mobile phones – it’s been incredible.”
“My husband became ill, went into a nursing home and I made the move to Oak Tree into a smaller villa I could manage on my own.
“I’ve lived here for the past 7 years and I still love it.
“I’m most thankful for my family, and all of the friends I have made at the village over the years who look after me and ensure I have everything I need.
“I’ve been very fortunate,” she said.
Pat remains socially active in the Village and is a friend to everyone. Pat will celebrate her 100th birthday with family and friends from the Village over the weekend.
From all of us at Oak Tree – A Very Happy Birthday Pat! We are so proud to have you as part of our family and Village at Oak Tree Retirement Village Skye.