Milestone day for determined Dorothy

Dorothy Inglis says having her independence is the best 100th birthday present she could ever...
Dorothy Inglis says having her independence is the best 100th birthday present she could ever have asked for. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
She is 100 and not out yet — out of her house, that is.

Dorothy Inglis is celebrating her 100th birthday today, and to the amazement of her family, is still living on her own in the house she and her late husband built 75 years ago.

"I’ll never move into an old folks home," she said.

"I’m going to stay here, because my darling husband and I had this house built in 1948 and I won’t leave."

Asked if she thought life might be easier and more comfortable in residential care, she was blunt: "I don’t want to know because I’m not going".

The former Dunedin clothing manufacturer seamstress may sound stubborn and fiercely independent, but she reckoned those qualities were precisely the reason why she was still here.

"Looking after myself and being independent is what keeps me young.

"I love being independent.

"I’ve got two legs and I can get around."

She has a little bit of help around the house with the cleaning and some cooking, but she still likes to do most of the work in her lovely garden.

And every Friday, she catches a taxi out to have lunch with her daughters.

Daughters Wendy Irvine and Diane Sommerville and son Murray Inglis said when their father Peter died six years ago, aged 95, they talked of moving Dorothy into residential care, but she would not have it.

"It’s a bit of a worry having her living on her own, but we have no choice in the matter," Mrs Sommerville said.

"She’s too old to transplant."

Mrs Inglis said she was celebrating the milestone today with a family lunch out and an afternoon tea at home.

"The day will be exciting because I’ll be with my family, and everyone knows how much I love my family.

"I just love our family. They’re so kind to me.

"But I’m not making the birthday cake. Someone else can do that this year."