Ton of reasons to party
IT might have been the luck of the Irish that Florence Drury's family was able to make it from Ireland to surprise her for her 100th birthday just before coronavirus closed the borders.
Florence celebrated with family and friends at the Helensvale Probus Club, of which she is a foundation member, the day before her official March 14 birthday.
Also a life member of Soroptimist International, which would undoubtedly hold its own celebration for her, Florence had the previous day partied with fellow members of Helensvale Senior Citizens Club.
She told another surprise guest at her Probus Club party, Channel 9's Bruce Paige, that she believed it was socialising and the friendships made through these clubs and associations that kept her going.
"They've all come together for me and I'm very grateful," she said of the Probus celebrations.
Mind you, she was made to work for it, chairing the annual AGM before the party could begin.
Florence was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in March 1920, emigrating to Australia with her parents and young sisters in 1926.
The family settled in Kingsgrove, Sydney, and she attended school at Hurstville before leaving at 14 to get a job to help her family through the Great Depression.
From December 1942-45, Florence served as a radio operator in the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF). In 1948 she married John William Drury, and the pair moved to Griffith in 1960.
There they established a business, with Florence joining the Uniting Church and Soroptimist International.
It's a link she kept up after moving to the Gold Coast in 1972, and in 2009 the Gold Coast Soroptimists honoured her by introducing the annual Florence Drury Award, which acknowledges a south Queensland member for outstanding efforts within their club. Sadly, she has lost John, but Florence still lives independently and has two daughters, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.