Centenarian well travelled

Celebrating 100 years, Margaret Cotton is still young at heart. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Celebrating 100 years, Margaret Cotton is still young at heart. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
She has survived five heart attacks and went to Hawaii when she was 98, but she was not that keen on being interviewed for her local paper.

Margaret Cotton turned 100 yesterday, but is quite clear about not believing she is old.

And that was about all she was willing to say on the matter, referring all questions after that to her daughter.

Ann Necaise, one of Mrs Cotton’s two daughters, said her mother remained "very independent" and in relatively good health, although she steadfastly refused to get hearing aids.

Still living on her own in a flat, she filled her days playing mahjong, reading and shopping in town.

Born Margaret Grundy in Wallsend, England, Mrs Cotton was the last surviving of 14 siblings, Mrs Necaise said.

She moved with her family to Dunedin when she was 4, then to Lower Hutt when she was older.

As a young woman, she worked at a munitions factory in Lower Hutt, packing explosives to support the troops during World War 2.

It was there she met her future husband, the late Roy Cotton, who worked as a supervisor. They married in September 1945.

The couple had one child and adopted another.

Mrs Cotton later worked at Griffins, making christmas cookies.

The Cottons moved to Dunedin in the late 1970s.

The family would regularly travel to Hawaii for Thanksgiving, where they visited relatives and made a family tradition of taking a picture with Santa.

Mrs Cotton was 98 when she last visited Hawaii, Mrs Necaise said.

She hoped her mother would get to visit again.

Mrs Cotton has seven grandchildren and many great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. Two more are on the way.

Some friends had an afternoon tea yesterday to mark the special occasion and the family, including all of Mrs Cotton’s nieces and nephews, will attend a dinner on Saturday.


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