Fairlie has seen century of changes
For Dannevirke’s Fairlie Nicol, her 100th birthday at Eileen Mary Rest Home on Saturday, September 9, was a bit overwhelming.
Family from around New Zealand and Perth in Western Australia joined Fairlie and her only child, Jack, for the birthday, but the 100 year old didn’t know what all the fuss was about. However, but she was delighted to receive a birthday card from “Aunty Elizabeth” — Queen Elizabeth II.
“I’d better behave,” Fairlie chuckled.
Fairlie’s father came to New Zealand as a shearer from a small town near Bendigo in Australia and met Fairlie’s mother in Havelock North.
“Fairlie grew up in the depression years,” friend Tim Delaney said.
“She trained as a nurse and holds proud to her nursing skills.”
In fact, if Eileen Mary staff don’t make Fairlie’s bed properly, she strips it and remakes it, living up to her nursing standards.
After marrying Tom in Havelock North, the couple ran a sheep and beef farm at Tipapakuku on the outskirts of Dannevirke.
“You’re never too old for farming,” Fairlie said.
The couple’s only child Jack was at Fairlie’s side for her birthday celebrations and said his mother was renowned for her scones. Nephew John McLennan of Wellington said Fairlie’s 100th was an incredible achievement.
“No one else in our family has lived this long,” he said.
“Fairlie has always helped others and delivered meals on wheels to people decades younger than herself.”
Fairlie also dedicated a lot of her time to St John the Baptist Anglican Church in Dannevirke where she was choir mistress and organist.
“She was also responsible for all the holy hardware and everything was done perfectly,” retired vicar Delaney said.
At 94, Fairlie was still chopping her own firewood and it was as a result of an accident while chopping that she “retired” to Eileen Mary.
“She’s seen some phenomenal changes in those 100 years,” Tararua District mayor Tracey Collis said.
Dannevirke’s Fairlie Nicol, left, with her son Jack at Eileen Mary on Saturday afternoon, celebrating Fairlie’s 100th birthday.
Fairlie Nicol with Tararua District mayor Tracey Collis at Eileen Mary on Saturday, September 29.