Celebrating 107 in olde style

Mary Brakenbury and daughter Sally taking a cart ride on Mary’s birthday. Photo: Supplied
Mary Brakenbury and daughter Sally taking a cart ride on Mary’s birthday. Photo: Supplied
Christchurch rest home resident Mary Brakenbury celebrated her 107th birthday in style with a ride around Sumner in a transport mode of yesteryear.

Mary is the oldest resident at Edith Cavell Lifecare & Village and was promised the cart ride when she was 106.

The birthday treat came courtesy of the Sumner Valley Riding School, which took Mary and her daughter Sally for a sedate inspection of the neighbourhood.

Birthday celebrations continued afterwards with lunch at The George Hotel, Mary’s favourite dining spot.

Mary was born on May 13, 1915, in Bedford, England and served in the Observer Corps during World War 2.

She married Victor in 1943, but he died in 1974 at age 65.

Mary moved to New Zealand at the grand age of 90 to be closer to family and lived independently until she went into Edith Cavell Lifecare at 105.

Mary Brakenbury was presented with her birthday cake by Edith Cavell Lifecare & Village caregiver...
Mary Brakenbury was presented with her birthday cake by Edith Cavell Lifecare & Village caregiver April Philpott. Photo: Supplied
Daughter Sally Bentley said her mother had always had a tremendous sense of humour and remained “quite a character’’.

“She’s very deaf and practically blind, but she has a fighting spirit.’’

That spirit had come out when she fell ill on her birthday and was later diagnosed with Covid.

“She was sick for the first couple of days, but by the third day, and feeling a little better, she told me that a little cold and flu wasn’t going to kill her that easily.’’

Mary remains active with the St Andrews Sumner-Redcliffs Church and attends a seniors group on Wednesdays.

-By Mick Jensen

Local trusted journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Star Media journalists and photographers continue to report local stories that matter everyday - yours.

For more than 152 years our journalists have provided Cantabrians with local news that can be trusted. It’s more important now than ever to keep Cantabrians connected.

As our advertising has fallen during the pandemic, support from you our reader is crucial.

You can help us continue to provide local news you can trust simply by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter