Centenarian celebrates a life well lived

“I feel like it is a wee bit of a special day”

Image: Ellie Mann

On Sunday 4 August, local Benetas Gisborne Oaks resident, Ellie Mann, celebrated her 100th birthday alongside four generations of family members, to mark the occasion. Born in Belfast, Mrs Mann immigrated to Australia for just ten pounds in order to join friends and soak up Australia’s sunshine. After building her life in regional Victoria with her husband and two children, she says the years have just flown by. “I can’t believe it. I feel like it is a wee bit of a special day. I never dreamt I’d live this long. Coming through the war, being down and out, and here we are.” “I was busily occupied in each year of my life. And a couple of years ago I thought gee, I’m almost 100! “I’m very happy to be here. I’m close to my daughter, my grandchildren and great grandchildren. I get to see my daughter every other day. I must say, I’ve lived a very blessed life.”

Reflecting on her life and what’s important, Mrs Mann believes there’s many things that we think we may want, but there are surprisingly few that we need. “I’ve got everything I need right here. With my great grandchildren, l love them and they love me. And that’s what matters most, at least to me.

“Whether you’re a prince or pauper, we only have the day that we’re in. I am lucky to have each day, and it’s nice to look forward to the next, but I don’t bank on it. I don’t think any of us can.”

Image: Ellie Mann with her letter from the Queen

Mrs Mann does feel for the younger generations though. “The world I lived in was so different to what it is now,” she said. “I couldn’t cope with a lot of what they have to cope with. But if there’s one thing young people don’t want; it is advice from an older generation.” Mrs Mann’s daughter Margaret puts her mum’s longevity down to a vibrant and generous spirit. “She’s never sat down or had a nap in the afternoon,” she said. “At a very young age she said to her own mother ‘I’ll do what me likes’ and she’s done exactly that ever since. “We all absolutely admire her, and she’s provided many of us with wonderful support during our troubles. Most of the time she has just lent us a listening ear.”

Mrs Mann has been talking about her 100th birthday for two years, said Cheryl McNab Gisborne Oaks Residential Manager. “It means the world to her and it’s wonderful to celebrate with her in such high spirits. “She attends chair aerobics and visits her local church regularly. She gets out to visit the town and continues with our crosswords, sharing words that many of us don’t know ourselves. “She’s been a wonderful force to have at Gisborne Oaks this past five years and we’re thrilled she’s as happy as when we met her.”

[Media contact: Emma Lang 0420 311 288, Emma.lang@benetas.com.au]