104th birthday celebration a family occasion

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Bessie Pearson had plenty of reasons to celebrate when her 104th birthday came around last week.

Mrs Pearson marked the occasion among family on Saturday, taking the milestone in her stride.

The Ranfurly resident, who was born to May and Robert Tait on November 14, 1916, has spent her life in the Maniototo.

Mrs Pearson, who now resides in the rest-home wing of Maniototo Hospital, puts her longevity down to leading a good life, choosing a good husband and making a good wife.

Born in Naseby, Mrs Pearson attended Naseby School and worked throughout the Great Depression.

Mrs Pearson and her late husband Scott had six children, born between 1939 and 1957.

The family farmed at Kyeburn and over the years Mrs Pearson became involved in various community groups, becoming a life member of some, including the Plunket Society, Maniototo Garden Club and Maniototo Early Settlers Association.

Mrs Pearson moved off the farm in 1999 and settled in Ranfurly, where she lived until she moved to the Maniototo Hospital at the age of 102.

She was still driving at 101, but has since given it up, instead letting others chauffeur her whenever the need arises.

Mrs Pearson, whose family continues to grow, is a proud grandmother to 12 grandchildren and has 23 great-grandchildren.