Still lead­ing the pack

Pris­oner of war still pad­dling on tougher than ever

Sunshine Coast Daily - Caloundra Weekly - - NEWS - Matty Holdsworth Matty.Holdsworth@sc­news.com.au

CALOUN­DRA’S Terri Stan­nard sur­vived three years of near star­va­tion as a pris­oner of war in World War II, sin­gle-hand­edly raised nine chil­dren and spent a ca­reer ed­u­cat­ing the masses.

Those who know her say she’s made of tougher stuff than most.

For a life which saw her live on four con­ti­nents, Mrs Stan­nard ap­proached her 90th birth­day in March with min­i­mal fuss, sur­rounded by 200 loved ones.

She said it had been an “in­ter­est­ing” life, with the tough­ness from her teens giv­ing her steel and de­ter­mi­na­tion like few women.

“I learned a lot when I was a teenager,” Mrs Stan­nard says, re­call­ing the dark days of the war.

“I had to adapt and grow up fast, to look af­ter my mother.”

She was in Java, In­done­sia, when the Ja­panese in­vaded. In just five days they came, saw and con­quered. She was sep­a­rated from her brother and fa­ther, locked up in barbed-wire fenced camps.

“They knew they couldn’t kill us all off, but they could starve us out. That was the in­ten­tion,” she said gravely.

“Boys at 12 were taken away. My fa­ther and brother were taken away. We didn’t know where they went.

“Any­one who made con­tact with us was se­verely pun­ished.”

Af­ter the Ja­panese sur­ren­der in 1945, Mrs Stan­nard was re­united with her fam­ily, some­thing she thought was im­pos­si­ble.

She made her way to Europe, married and had nine chil­dren. She moved to Aus­tralia as a widow, with eight of her chil­dren.

The re­tired maths teacher’s weekly rou­tine in­cludes bike rid­ing, yoga, bridge and kayak­ing, of­ten lead­ing the pack.

“I was lucky enough to have never been in­jured or have an ac­ci­dent,” she said.

This week 25 of her clos­est friends from Sun­coast Se­niors Recre­ational Kayak Club pad­dled from Mooloolaba to Bud­dina to cel­e­brate her mile­stone, the sprightly 90-year-old nat­u­rally out in front like she has been her whole life.

PHOTO: WAR­REN LYNAM

NOT GIV­ING UP AT 90: For­mer Ja­panese pris­oner of war Terri still loves to kayak.

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