Celebrating a century
Joe Weston came to New Zealand late in his life, all for the sake of family.
The Harbourview Rest Home resident celebrated his 100th birthday last Tuesday, with rousing renditions of Happy Birthday and plenty of cards to open from family, friends, the Prime Minister and Queen Elizabeth.
Mr Weston didn’t seem all that fussed by the attention, but having his daughter Chris, who travelled from Australia for the occasion, and grand-daughter Nicola with him for the day put a smile on his face.
Born on September 13, 1911, in Wolverhampton, near Birmingham, England, Mr Weston left school at 14 and trained to be an electrician.
During World War II he repaired electrical damage in ammunition factories after extensive German bombing around the Wolverhampton area.
His three passions were his wife, Dorothy – they would celebrate their golden wedding before she died – his garden and fruit trees, and Wolverhampton Wanderers football team.
His daughter Chris was adopted in 1948 and she recalls summer holidays in a caravan in North Wales.
‘‘We always did everything as a family. I had a wonderful childhood and could have not asked for a better upbringing.
‘‘There were always plenty of cousins around and everyone had a lot of fun together.’’
Dorothy and Joe moved to New Zealand in 1976 and they settled in Airlie Rd in Plimmerton, in order to be close to their daughter and grand-daughter.
Mr Weston became the treasurer of the local senior citizens club, his wife was secretary, and they enjoyed many outings.
Nicola can remember being ‘‘the odd one out’’ on a number of these excursions.
‘‘I was the youngest there by a long way, before I started going to school they would take me everywhere.’’
The Westons went on a number of overseas trips, Joe enjoyed the excellent fishing this region had to offer, renovated the house and garden, and rode his bike around well into his nineties.
‘‘They got out and about a lot, were involved in the community. Mum and Dad made the most of life,’’ Chris says.
Mr Weston has been at Harbourview only in the past two years as his health deteriorated.
Staff say he is the oldest resident and many of them were on hand to give their best wishes last week.
Magic number: It isn’t easy finding a balloon with ‘100’ on it, as Joe Weston’s family discovered during preparations for his birthday celebration last week.