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Gert and Ray Connor, who have been married for 72 years and still live at home. Image: Contributed

Special birthday celebrations for Brushy Tartans

Lynne Mowbray|

The Tartan Brushy RSL Day Club held their annual ‘Nonagenarian birthday recognition day’ at the Brushgrove Hall, on Tuesday September 10, with 58 people attending the event. 

The Brushy Tartan Day Club was formed at Brushgrove, in April 2002. 

Every Tuesday from 10am until 2pm, members are entertained with morning tea, lunch, exercises, entertainers, music, sing along songs, guest speakers, quizzes, bingo and once a month a trading table is enjoyed by members from all around the Clarence Valley, which is kept running by a wonderful band of volunteers and support from the RSL.

During last Tuesday’s celebrations, students from Cowper Primary School visited the hall and presented songs, poems and bubble blowing and presented the day club with a Nonagenarian card.

CVC Mayor – Jim Simmons, state coordinator for RSL Day Clubs – Tom Barnsley and vice president for Maclean RSL Sub Branch – Dennis Noel, officially recognised all members over 90, with corsages and chocolate gifts and participated with the cutting of the special cake.

There are 21 day club members over 90 and one over 100 who regularly attend the Brushy Tartan, on Tuesdays. Unfortunately some members were unable to attend the special birthday due to the fires and family circumstances, but all Nonagenarians have signed a special table cloth which will be used on special occasions. The oldest regular member is 99 and usually joins in with everything, but was unable to attend on Tuesday.

Three Nonagenarians who attended on the day shared a small glimpse into their lives.

Gert and Ray Connor are both 96, with Ray being six weeks older ‘so he can be the boss’.

They have been married for 72 years and still live at home with the help of family members. The couple have three children, 12 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. Gert said that, “every day with Ray has been lovely.”

Gert was born at Mullumbimbi and her first job at 17 was as a teacher, at Wooli. She was the first teacher when the Wooli School was opened at the hall, during the war years.

Ray has always been farming at Cowper and they still live in the house where he was born. One of their sons still runs the farm.

Gert said the best modern invention for her was a washing machine and her favourite saying is, “How blessed I have been all my life”.

Aileen Bryant, was born 28 December 1927, in Wellington NSW. 

Aileen has two daughters, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. 

Her first job at 14 was as a farm hand and helping out during shearing time. Aileen said the best modern invention for her was ‘electricity’.  Her secret to life is, ‘Friendship, and love for other people.’

Aileen has been coming to the Tartan Brushy RSL Day Club for 15 years and loves her Tuesdays.

Isabel Buchanan (nee Watkins) was born at South Grafton, on 6 March 1926. 

Isabel had to walk two miles to school and Sunday school; rain, hail or shine.

She married in 1945 when her husband Neil, came back from fighting in New Guinea during WWII. They have two children, five grandchildren and nine great-grand children. Her first employment was at a refreshment house, in Ulmarra. 

Isabel spent her married life helping her farming husband with the dairy and produce at the property, which they still own just out of Ulmarra. Her favourite pastimes were gardening and playing tennis at Ulmarra and winning some trophies.

For Isabel, the best modern inventions were the car and the washing machine and her most important philosophy to pass on, is to “Be healthy and happy always”. Any person interested in becoming a volunteer or member, please contact Murray Folke 6645 3328 or Trish York 6644 8165

Coordinator TBRSL Day Club Murray Folke, CVC Mayor Jim Simmons and vice president, Maclean RSL Sub Branch, Dennis Noel with three Nonagenarians and the special birthday cake. Image: Contributed