There was a big celebration in Petone last weekend as one of the suburb’s oldest residents turned 103.
Frances Sykes celebrated her birthday with son David and close family and friends with lunch at the Saigon Paris restaurant on Jackson Street.
Mrs Sykes is a resident of Britannia House. But she lived at home until she was 99.
Mr Sykes says her mother has had a hard life. She was born near Leicester, England, where she grew up. She contracted polio as a child which left her with a permanent disability.
Mrs Sykes trained to be a nurse. “But the nursing body wouldn’t accept the registration of anyone with a disability. She fought hard and her qualifications were eventually recognised.”
Mr Sykes moved to New Zealand in 1980 and his mother followed two years later. “My twin brother is still in Britain but we decided it would be easier for her here.”
Apart from a short period in Palmerston North, Mrs Sykes has spent all of her time in New Zealand living in the Wellington region.
She has generally kept good health. But a broken leg three weeks ago has slowed her down.
“My mum enjoys living in Britannia House. They’ve been very good to her. It’s a wonderful place for elderly people,” says Mr Sykes.