Eva turns 100
■ Eva Weldon celebrates the milestone birthday
BEHIND a rose filled garden off Highton Lane, Eva Weldon sits quietly in a recliner chair.
Her eyes don’t see as well as they once did, and her hearing is almost completely gone – but at 100 years of age, she is still completely with it.
Last Sunday, family and friends gathered around Eva to celebrate her century – remembering the times gone by, the people past and present and the changing of the world.
Eva, delighted at the gathering, has to take somewhat of a backseat – her poor hearing means most conversations need to be carried out via a whiteboard.
Surprisingly, it’s exactly the way Eva wanted the celebration: in her own words, she has lived her life “in the background”.
“I have always had a bit of an inferiority complex,” she explained loudly, striving to be heard over the silence in her ears.
“God taught me to be humble, and to be grateful, and that’s what I’ve always aimed for.”
Faith is something that runs strong in the Weldon family.
Although she no longer can attend church, Eva has a friend who visits so she can take communion weekly.
Her well-read bible sits beside her on the coffee table – always close enough to pick up and look through.
“God took me under his wing, and I am grateful for that every day,” Eva said.
“It’s because of him I am still here.”
Born in the depression in Lincoln, England, Eva was one of 14 children.
At the age of eight she began to help her mother raise the babies, a new one seeming to appear every year or so.
Eventually, Eva met Albert, who was serving in the army along with one of her brothers.
The pair married and had three children: Michael, Roey and Christine (dec).
It is with Roey that Eva now lives, spending her time looking out over the roses.
“We moved to Australia from England 50 years ago,” Roey said.
“Mum and Dad came to visit us, and when Dad passed away Mum decided she would move over permanently.”
Roey has chosen to take on the role of full time carer for her mother, steering away from the likes of Beolite and Bindaree.
A decision based on love rather than obligation, Roey is happy to do what she can.
Eva’s lack of hearing doesn’t detract from their relationship; the need for words has long since vanished.
“She gave me everything, and looking after her is the least I can do now,” Roey said.
Sitting forward in her chair to better see, Eva looks shrewdly down the lens of the Courier camera, cutting her daughter off mid-sentence.
“Roey told me not to preach to the newspaper people, but you don’t mind, do you dear? she said.
“Do you see my flowers over there?” Eva says, changing the subject suddenly, leaning forward and looking across at the bouquets on the opposite wall.
“People sent them to me – and the Queen as well.
“Can you believe it? I didn’t know they would.”
Rolling her eyes, Roey pats her mum’s hand and says quietly, “sssh mum, that’s enough now”.
At 73, Roey is hardly a young daughter – but is proof that the bonds forged in childhood last an age.
Just last week, she arranged for Eva to have her nails done – ready for the big party.
The family home was prepared, notices from the Queen, the Prime Minister and all manner of politicians lined up on display.
But Eva was happy to sit in her chair, watching the people come and go.
A quiet example of how great things don’t always make a great life, Eva knows that there is joy in the ordinary and love in the everyday.
“I’ve never done anything that would get the attention of the news,” she said.
“Nobody would know my story – but God knows it, and my children, and that’s enough.”
CELEBRATE THE GOOD TIMES: Eva Weldon celebrated her 100th birthday on Sunday. She is pictured with her niece (left) Sue Cruickshank, and her daughter Roey Collins.