Singing, humour help ease the way to 100

Mosgiel resident Gerald Huntley with a birthday card from the Queen. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Mosgiel resident Gerald Huntley with a birthday card from the Queen. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
When Gerald Huntley celebrates his 100th birthday today, he may still be wondering exactly how he made it, but his love of singing and jokes has helped smooth the way.

"Singing is a very big part of my life.

"I love to hear good singing.

"I'm not a solo singer, I'm too nervous for solo singing.

"I've always been a choir singer.

"I started off when my parents put me into the St Paul's Children's Choir when I was 8.''

In those days he was a soprano. Now the Mosgiel resident is a bass.

"I won't say I'm a wonderful singer, but I get a lot of enjoyment out of singing,'' he said.

The singing and his fondness for jokes have also been interwoven when, occasionally, he has changed a few words in a song, such as in A Long Way to Tipperary, with gently satirical intent.

"I laugh a lot.''

And the jokes also helped him bounce back from some of life's tough moments, including four years military service abroad, in Egypt and in Italy, during World War 2.

A highlight of his time in Italy came when he was asked to travel to a place in Senigallia, a port city on the Adriatic coast, where Christmas carols were to be sung.

On his return journey he found himself standing in the back of an army truck beside a young New Zealand woman, who was a member of the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps.

He had just met his future wife, Edna (nee Madsen). She died in 2010.

Mr Huntley worked at Whitcombe and Tombs book and toy shop in Dunedin before the war, rising to head a department, and resumed work there for a few years after the war.

He and his wife then ran a book and toy shop in Green Island for many years.

Mr Huntley has already received his special birthday cards from the Queen and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and today will celebrate his birthday with fellow residents and his two children at the Brooklands Village rest-home, in Mosgiel.



Happy Birthday.....amazing life to celebrate.