Century of stress-free living celebrated today

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Alexandra’s Vera Kerr will turn 100 today, prompting a gathering of family and friends, and a celebratory afternoon tea.

Mrs Kerr, who will be joined by 120 people, some who have travelled from far and wide, for a party this afternoon, puts her longevity down to a stress-free life.

She still lives at home and regularly attends scrabble sessions, hosted by Senior Citizens.

“I’ve never been a stressful person. I’ve taken everything in my stride,” she said.

Among those who will attend today’s celebrations are her five children, 11 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

She considers herself “lucky” to have each of them by her side and fortunate to still be living at home, upstairs.

An electric chair lift allows her easy access up and down the stairs, which is handy when it is time to join her daughter, Linda Leckie, whom she lives with, for their regular 5pm glass of wine.

Mrs Kerr, who still drove up until recently, said her electric chair lift had helped her retain her independence.

“I’m very lucky that I can continue living upstairs,” she said.

Mrs Leckie agreed.

so it all works out very nicely.”

Mrs Kerr was 21 when she married the late Ian Kerr in 1940. They initially settled in Dunedin where they had one son and four daughters.

“In those days, of course, you didn’t have The Warehouse and you had to do all the dressmaking yourself, so I spent a lot of time making clothes for myself and my four daughters.”

Mr and Mrs Kerr moved their family to Alexandra in 1955 for the sake of their asthmatic son.

She recalls it was about the start of the Alexandra Blossom Festival, which is into its 63rd year.

“Everybody got behind the floats. Everybody.” she said, of the event’s earliest years.

“I remember one float, I don’t know who made it, it wouldn’t go under the electric wires.”

When asked what she had enjoyed over the years, Mrs Kerr was quick to note she had never travelled to England, or been on a cruise around the Pacific Islands, but had always “been very happy at home” looking after her family, including Mrs Leckie’s children whom she helped raise.

ALEXIA.JOHNSTON

@alliedpress.co.nz