Gran Joan has lived to talk about two world wars

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - MPILETSO MOTUMI

THE MACADAMIA Frail Care Cen­tre cel­e­brated a trea­sure yes­ter­day. The Mpumalanga home for the aged wished a happy birth­day to one of its most loved res­i­dents, Joan McCready, who turned 109 and still has rec­ol­lec­tions of both the world wars.

The cen­tre man­age­ment de­scribed her birth­day yes­ter­day as a huge achieve­ment.

Friend and care­taker Sally Mayhew said McCready was a car­ing woman who was quick-wit­ted and loved by ev­ery­one.

“It’s re­ally dif­fi­cult to por­tray be­cause she is so amaz­ing. Peo­ple want to look after her with­out her ask­ing. She is very gen­er­ous as well,” she said.

Mayhew said she found McCready to be very in­spi­ra­tional. “I live nearby and I have been vis­it­ing her for the past two to three years be­cause I en­joy be­ing with her. She is a won­der­ful friend.”

The home usu­ally hosts a party for her ev­ery year, but this year things were a lit­tle quiet as she has grown very frail.

In her hey­day, McCready used to be ath­letic and was a pro­fes­sional bal­let dancer, among many other things. In one pe­riod of her life, she joined the cast of the Rus­sian Bal­let when they per­formed for a num­ber of years in Eng­land, where she was born. McCready even taught bal­let for a while.

She was mar­ried twice be­fore: first to a doc­tor, with whom she trav­elled to many coun­tries, and then to a golfer, who won sev­eral tour­na­ments.

McCready’s life in South Africa goes back to the 1950s, when she left her fam­ily in Manch­ester and moved to Joburg with her hus­band.

Though she has no fam­ily in South Africa and none in Eng­land that she knows of, McCready gained a fam­ily at the home and is quite popular in White River.

Ev­ery year, the lo­cal pa­per – The Lowvelder – writes a story on her birth­day.

For her 100th birth­day in 2005, McCready re­ceived let­ters from the queen of Eng­land and Nel­son Man­dela.

CHER­ISHED: Joan McCready has cel­e­brated 109 years of life.

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