Community stalwart celebrating 100 years

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At 100 years old, Lionel Woods considers himself lucky. Mr Woods celebrated his 100th birthday on Thursday, a milestone he will mark among friends and family at his Alexandra home.

He puts his longevity down to ‘‘good luck and good health’’. ‘‘I was just born lucky, I suppose, and I lived an active life.’’ Mr Woods was born in England and served in the Royal Navy during World War 2.

During that time he joined a ship which left on D-Day and landed in France. After the war he travelled to New Zealand, where he met his future wife, the late Tui. ‘‘She was a lovely girl,’’ he said. ‘‘I miss her so much.’’ They met at the Anglican church they both attended. The couple had three daughters, Nicola, Jillian and Robin.

The family farmed in Te Anau after Mr
Woods successfully secured land through a ballot.

Mr Woods farmed sheep mainly, along with some cattle, before retiring to Alexandra with Tui in the mid-1980s.
He became involved in community activities, including the formation of the Alexandra Probus Club, of which he is now a life member.
‘‘There was a Probus club somewhere else and we thought we could have a club going here,’’ Mr Woods said.

He was also a member of the Clyde Bowling Club, Manuherikia Lodge and Anglican Church on Shannon St.
‘‘It’s been a big part of my life,’’ he said of his community involvement, particularly the church.
Next on his agenda is his birthday celebration, complete with an open home so people can call in to say hello and wish him a happy birthday.
And, all going to plan, a card from the Queen will be on display when they do.