Bellingen?s grand lady celebrates her 105th birthday
ANNE Cooper turns 105 today.
That's quite an innings in anyone's book, but Anne takes it all in her stride because 'birthdays are nothing new and you never know when you are going to go'.
One of seven children, Anne was born on the family property at Tyringham, west of Dorrigo, in 1901.
Her dream was to be a nurse and she turned down at least one marriage proposal in pursuit of her goal.
"The only thing I ever wanted to be was a nurse, so I told this young man to go and find another girl to marry because I was going nursing," Anne said.
She worked in Armidale, Glen Innes, Sydney and Waterfall, as well as many years at Bellingen Hospital under the highly respected Dr George Hewitt.
"Dr Hewitt and I were great cobbers." Anne said.
"He would help anyone, black, white or brindle, and used to travel as far as Dorrigo and Nambucca to do it."
Anne remembers patients telling her she 'had the best two feet that ever walked into the ward'.
"I always knew what people needed before I got to them," she said.
"If I knew someone was ill in the ward, I would run to help them.
"I have saved many lives."
Growing up for Anne involved tennis, horse-riding, playing the piano, picnics and dancing.
"I loved getting dressed to go to a ball.
"The dresses were always so lovely."
Another high point was winning third prize with her pony at the Royal Easter Show.
Later she turned her sporting skills to golf and lawn bowls and rolled up for the last time only two years ago.
Anne puts her longevity down to a good diet.
"My mother always made us eat our vegies," she said.
"Vegetables and fruit ? that's what's kept me alive this long."
Staff at the Bellorana Hostel say Anne still gives plenty of cheek and doesn't seem a day over 80.