Centenarian’s secret is to ‘keep busy’

Centenarian Mary Cochrane gets her needles out during her birthday celebrations at the weekend....
Centenarian Mary Cochrane gets her needles out during her birthday celebrations at the weekend. Photo: Linda Robertson
In the midst of her 100-year celebrations, Dunedin woman Mary Cochrane was concerned her knitting output had lagged.

"I haven’t done much knitting today. Too many people to talk to."

Mrs Cochrane was surrounded by friends and family on Saturday at the Yvette Williams Retirement Village in Roslyn for her 100th birthday.

It was fitting she received visitors at her age as when her children were young she would walk the streets of Roseneath visiting the area’s elderly at their homes.

"Sometimes it was dark by the time I walked home. One night I thought someone was chasing me, the tree branches were waving around."

Mrs Cochrane was born in Sawyers Bay as Mary Hewitson, but lived most of her life in Roseneath.

She moved to the rest-home six years ago.

The outbreak of World War 2 had a significant impact on her life. She had met her future husband, Alan Cochrane, in the late 1930s, but he was sent overseas before they could get married. He spent four years in different prisons after being captured and held as a prisoner of war.

During this time she bought a section in Roseneath in the hope they would be able to build a home after the war.

They married in September 1945, soon after his return. The couple built the house and had a family of two daughters and a son.

She now also has three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Mrs Cochrane was involved with community groups and spent a lot of time in the garden.

"I worked outside most of the time; that was quite healthy."

Mr Cochrane died in 1995.

When she was 60 she tried art classes, and added drawing and painting to her pastimes.She still knits bonnets for premature babies.

Her advice to the younger generations was to "keep busy".

"Don’t drink, don’t smoke. Do things for others."

She said she did not worry or get "all worked up".

"I don’t know what you’re all worried about." 

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