A birthday is always a good reason to celebrate, and for Phyllis Martin this year it was made all the more special with a surprise ride in a 1912 Ford Model T to mark her 102nd birthday.
The former Wollongong resident lives at the Uniting Mayflower Gerringong aged care home, and it was the staff who organised the round trip to Berry.
“I asked her if she had an unlived wild streak in her that wanted to ride motorbikes or get tattoos,’ Uniting lifestyle coordinator Margaret Darling said.
“Phyllis said she wasn’t sure about motorbikes, but that she was more a fan of vintage cars instead.”
After much research Mrs Darling tracked down the collectable – manufactured only four years before Mrs Martin was born.
“Sometimes you can’t always get out to do those things. Part of our job here is to try and make those wishes come true and make life a little bit more special,” she said.
She’s been a wonderful mother and I think an inspiration to the people here – she’s a remarkable person.David Martin
In her early married life, Mrs Martin and her husband rented at a few different locations around Wollongong before they purchased their first home at Mount Saint Thomas in the early 50s. It was there they raised their two sons David and John.
David Martin puts his mother’s long life down to her childhood.
“I think it’s her early upbringing, she had a very tough upbringing as a child,” he said.
“She’s been to hospital only two or three times in her whole life – she’s a tough nut.
“Her quality of life is good and she’s still active, she walks around and the staff often find her walking around the corridors here.”
Mrs Martin has always enjoyed an active lifestyle, and in her younger years took up golf, tennis and swimming.
“I’ve had all those things that I thought were wonderful,” she said.
“I loved the beach and swimming – life has come and gone, I suppose most of it has gone.”
Mr Martin described his mother’s sacrifices for her children as “incredible”.
“Unfortunately, you don’t appreciate the sacrifices parents make for you until later in life,” he said.
“My parents sacrificed things to put my brother and I through school and whenever we wanted to play sport, all the equipment was always available – you don’t realise those things until you start to do it for your own children.
“She’s been a wonderful mother and I think an inspiration to the people here – she’s a remarkable person.”