Rotorua’s Ella Wilson ‘jolly lucky’ in celebrating 107th birthday

A lot has happened in the past 107 years and Rotorua’s Ella Wilson has been alive for all of it.

The Gardens, Care Home resident, who celebrates her 107th birthday today, has lived through two world wars, the Spanish Flu, and now Covid-19.

Her life has been full of challenges but when she looks back she says she feels blessed and has many fond memories.

“I was told there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,” she said.

“But I think we had our pot of gold all along.”

When asked for the secret to living so long, Wilson said she thinks the hard work she had to do at the beginning of her life prepared her for any other challenges down the track.

“I’m very lucky,” she said.

“I just don’t see and hear very well anymore. I think in the early days it was hard work, I was born in the middle of the flu epidemic and then we had a severe Depression.

“In the second world war, my husband went away. After that, we settled down but they were difficult times.

“When my husband was away, I would get a load of slabs, they’d be dropped at the gate and they were six foot long. I’d carry three in every day, saw them to stove lengths, chop them up, and put them in.

“We worked very hard but we did appreciate everything we had. They were the lovely days really, everyone helped each other out. They really were the good old days.”

Wilson said she was surprised to be turning 107 because she didn’t feel it.

Born in Auckland, and having lived in Hamilton, Wilson moved to Rotorua eight years ago. She said up until recent years, she was a member of many clubs such as bowls and she enjoyed reading and knitting.

“I can’t see to read or hear anymore and I do find it difficult, but I count my blessings. I can’t even read my name or see a picture but I do count my blessings. I’m jolly lucky and as long as I can be self-reliant – I like to do it. I don’t just sit here and ring the bell.”

Wilson still enjoys a glass of wine or a ginger beer every Thursday.

When asked how she would celebrate her 107th birthday, she replied “quietly”.

“A lot of people can’t come because of flus and all the rest of it at the moment but we’ll have lunch in town, at the Millenium.”

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