Thomas marks 103rd milestone

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Thomas Bennett with the homemade card given to him by a friend for his 103rd birthday this week.

Thomas Bennett celebrated his 103rd birthday this week with residents and staff at Radius Millstream.

The former Wakanui farmer, born and raised in the coastal Mid Canterbury area, was born on November 21, 1918.

He attributes his long life to good old-fashioned hard work.

He was the eldest of seven children, although the only surviving sibling, and still working on the family sheep farm at Wakanui aged 84.

He was in the army in 1943 and served at Guadalcanal and New Caledonia.

Mr Bennett never smoked and only enjoyed an occasional beer, but did enjoy a dram of whisky during his birthday celebration, which also featured carrot cake and plenty of joviality.

He, and his late-wife, had three children, Graeme (Wakanui), Jillian (Auckland) and the late-Tony, as well as many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Mr Bennett has been at the aged care facility for the past 14 months and enjoys the banter with those around him. He has also upped his bowls game and is the Millstream House Bowling Champion.

His life-long love of horses featured on a handmade card given to him by fellow resident Sister Annette Waterman and he also received birthday wishes from Minister for Seniors Dr Ayesha Verrall.

Radius Millstream centenarians Agnes Lister, 102, and birthday boy Thomas Bennett this week celebrating his 103rd birthday.

Mr Bennett is one of two centenarians living at Radius Millstream; the other is Agnes Lister who at 102 is just two months younger than Mr Bennett.

His week-long birthday celebrations are set to continue this weekend when he celebrates with family.