Sim­ple tips for a long life from cen­te­nar­ian

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

rel­a­tives tried with­out suc­cess to catch up with Eileen.

It was while she was in Pen­rose she met her first hus­band Percy Petty, who went over­seas to war.

Sadly, he was killed while serv­ing in World War II.

Soon af­ter, Eileen made her way to Mata­mata and found work with the Dar­raghs on Pe­ria Rd, break­ing in and rid­ing horses and do­ing track work in the morn­ing.

Af­ter the Dar­raghs, she went to work with Pearl Martin, again with horses, which were to be­come her pas­sion.

Eileen ended up hav­ing her own thor­ough­bred, Te Omhe and bred a colt and filly from her. The colt had a fourth place at Pukekohe in his first start.

Eileen soon fell in love with Mata­mata man Claude ( Mick) Hill.

In 1948, Pearl Martin drove them to Te Aroha Do­main to get mar­ried.

Eileen gave birth to Bruce and Gil­bert; sadly Bruce died in in­fancy.

Eileen con­tin­ued to work, this time in a lo­cal fish and chip shop called Priv­its, where Ruby’s Take­aways is to­day.

Eileen’s sis­ter-in-law Roa Green looked af­ter Gil­bert while she worked in the fish and chip shop in the hol­i­days.

Mick and Eileen moved into town to live with Mick’s mother and fa­ther in Vosper St where Eileen helped look af­ter her mother-in-law.

Mick worked on the rail­way and did other odd jobs.

He then got a job at Mata­mata Pub as a bar­man.

When Mick died in 1975, Eileen con­tin­ued to live in Vosper St but asked Gil­bert and his wife Carol and their chil­dren Shayne and Clau­dine join her.

In 1982, Eileen’s third grand­child Daniel ar­rived.

Eileen who had been pro­foundly deaf since her early teens moved into Gil­bert and Carol’s house on Western St af­ter sell­ing her house and sec­tion in Vosper St.

Eileen be­gan to get in­ter­ested in bowls. She was 70 when she started and be­came quite ad­dicted to the sport.

She be­came a reg­u­lar player and mem­ber of the Mata­mata RSA in­door bowl­ing club and played on a Mon­day af­ter­noon.

She was also a mem­ber of St An­drew’s In­door Bowl­ing Club.

In the time that Eileen played in­door bowls she claimed many pres­ti­gious cham­pi­onship ti­tles. She also re­ceived nu­mer­ous run­ner-up ti­tles.

Eileen won club cham­pi­onship ti­tles in: 1987 – ladies pairs, rinks,1995 and 1999 – rinks, 2000 – pairs, 2001 – rinks and 2003 – triples.

She was the ag­gre­gate win­ner six times.

Mata­mata Sub-Cen­tre In­door Bowls Cham­pi­onships she won: 1996 – rinks, 1999 – pairs, 2001 – rinks and 2003 – triples.

Tau­ranga In­door Bowls As­so­ci­a­tion Cham­pion of Cham­pi­ons: 2005 – triples.

Eileen’s most trea­sured ac­co­lade was the Gold Star which she was af­ter be­fore she re­tired.

She will al­ways be re­mem­bered as one of the club’s most suc­cess­ful bowlers as the records show

points she had her name on most of the tro­phies – many times in some in­stances.

In April 2007, just be­fore her 98th birth­day Eileen re­tired from in­door bowls be­cause of her fail­ing eye­sight.

Her other hob­bies apart from bowls and horses in­cluded knit­ting. She loved it.

Her daugh­ter-in-law Carol got her to knit squares which she sewed to­gether to make warm win­ter blan­kets.

She knit­ted beau­ti­ful baby shawls for the grand­chil­dren and cardi­gans and jer­seys for her­self.

Spend­ing time with her grand­chil­dren was some­thing Eileen re­ally en­joyed.

Then the great grand­chil­dren Chaise, Zara and Shawna ar­rived. She was even more proud of them.

Ev­ery pen­sion day she would get Carol to phone Clau­dine to see if she wanted to go for a cuppa at Cafe Flo­rian.

That made her day. Zara came too in the school hol­i­days.

As her grand­chil­dren were grow­ing up, Eileen was also taken to the stock cars at Bay Park.

She en­joyed it a lot but didn’t like the dirt be­ing thrown through the fence when the cars went around the cor­ner.

Many peo­ple in Mata­mata would see Eileen walk­ing fast through town, down to the cor­ner shop op­po­site Mata­mata Pri­mary School.

Eileen was from the old school so go­ing to the same shop was what she did.

When Eileen moved into Mata­mata Coun­try Lodge she was in her 100th year.

She was very well liked at the Lodge.

All the other ladies loved the flow­ers that Eileen’s fam­ily brought.

In the end, Eileen couldn’t see the flow­ers but her fam­ily tried to get flow­ers with a lovely scent.

Eileen used her walker right up un­til about a month be­fore her death.

When asked one day what her se­cret to longevity was she sim­ply said, ‘‘Work hard and use your legs. If you don’t you may as well buy a wheel­chair’’.

Eileen died on March 6, 2013. She was 103 years old.

Eileen Clarice Hill

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