A healthy diet and active lifestyle has long been prescribed by doctors and now Moree’s Gladys Bassett is living proof that the combination does work after celebrating her 100th birthday on Sunday.
Mrs Bassett, who remains in denial about turning 100, said a diet full of fruits and vegetables and wholesome foods, combined with healthy sporting activities, was her secret to beating the odds and living to see a century.
And, although she has “had a drop of this and a drop of that”, the 100-year-old has never been a drinker or a smoker.
“I’m not 100,” she said when asked how it felt to live for a century.
“So long as I’m well enough to do everything I want to do, it’s irrelevant.”
About 30 family members and friends from Moree, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Kingscliff, as well as one from as far as Bongkok, Thailand, travelled to Moree on Sunday to celebrate Mrs Bassett’s milestone at a party at Fairview Retirement Village, where she has been a resident for the past six years.
Mrs Bassett enjoyed two cakes on Sunday – one at lunch from the staff at Fairview, and a second for afternoon tea at her party – and received plenty of well wishes throughout the day.
The most significant birthday wishes came from Her Majesty The Queen, who sent a letter congratulating Mrs Bassett on her 100th birthday.
Mrs Bassett also received letters from other dignitaries and politicians including the Governor General and his wife, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton and State Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall.
“She had a lovely day,” Mrs Bassett’s son, Ben said.
Glad was born in Bathurst on November 12, 1917 and grew up in Canowindra as the eldest of five children, including Stan, Lorna, Daph and Max – her only surviving sibling who is celebrating his 90th in December – born to Dan and Ada Evans.
Finishing school at the age of 15, Glad went on to work as a bookkeeper at Canowindra Motors where she remained until she married.
In 1944 she married farmer Reg Bassett, who managed the family property at Nyrang Creek between Canowindra and Eugowra. In 1948 Reg and Glad welcomed their first child, Richard and two years later the young family moved to Canowindra.
Their second son Benjamin was born in 1953 and just a few years later, in 1956, Reg and Glad bought ‘Bristol’ – a 1200 acre mixed farming property at Croppa Creek.
It was at Croppa Creek that Glad embraced community life, becoming involved “in every committee there was” including the CWA, Sunday school, ladies tennis, and the school’s P and C.
Reg and Glad sold the farm in 1970 and went on a caravanning trip around Australia before moving to Moree to retire in 1971.
She then threw herself into community work in Moree, becoming involved with the Moree CWA, volunteering for the Christian bookshop and Uniting Church, as well as Meals on Wheels, Moree Hospital Auxiliary, as a guide for Moree Plains Gallery and was involved in the cooking section at Moree Show.
Mrs Bassett was a talented gardener and cook and enjoyed participating in a variety of sports over the years including tennis, swimming, hockey, cricket, bowls and more.
Over the years, her community volunteer work was recognised through a number of awards, including the Moree Jaycess Outstanding Citizenship Award in 1988 and Moree Plains Senior Citizen of the Year Award in 1990.
In 2005 she was recognised for her 32 years of service to the Christian Bookselling Association of Australia.
She is also a life member of CWA NSW and is currently the patron of the CWA NSW Gwydir Group.
Reg sadly passed away in 2000 and Glad remained at home until she broke her neck in 2011 and moved to Fairview Retirement Village.
The Moree Champion would like to wish Mrs Bassett a very happy and healthy 100th birthday.