Whiddon Beaudesert Star resident racks up 99 birthdays

BEAUDESERT resident Linda Hovey turned 99 today and was treated to lunch on Tamborine Mountain to mark the event.

Mrs Hovey, accompanied by her daughter Rhonda Collins, her best friend Joanne de Koning and carers from Whiddon Star, travelled by bus to George's Paragon restaurant on Tamborine Mountain.

Mrs Hovey said she was feeling great and looking forward to the party.

"I'm making sure I get it in this year in case I snuff it before my next birthday," she joked.

"But I'd better get my letter from the Queen."

The quick-witted nonagenarian also suggested the Queen might want to get her letter written early, since the monarch was not getting any younger herself.

Mrs Hovey said she had arrived in Australia in 1950 as a ten-pound pom and the highlight of her life was raising her three children - son Grant and daughters Rhonda and Annette.

"I never regretted coming to Australia," she said.

"I've been back several times and done a lot of travelling over the years but I still call Australia home."

Ms Collins said her mother had always had a keen sense of humour.

"My husband calls her the duchess - he always stirs her up and she always has a witty response - she's sharp as a tack.

"One day he asked her why he wasn't in the will and she told him she was leaving everything to Derek, the gardener on the Specsavers TV ad.

"Mum thinks her birthday lunch is going to be just us and Rhonda's daughters but actually there will be 17 people waiting at the restaurant as a surprise.

"There will be friends there who have known her over the years and think the world of her. One of her carers who looked after her when she lived at home will be there too."

Mrs Hovey has lived at Whiddon Star since 2013 and said she was happy there, spending time with her best friend Joanne de Koning.

"I would like to be at home doing everything I want to do but I can't, and I accept that," Mrs Hovey said.

"If I had my legs in working order I would be okay but a couple of years ago they gave out on me."

Mrs Hovey said one of her biggest frustrations was not being able to get out and about as much as she used to, but she enjoyed spending time with Mrs de Koning, who is also a resident at the home.

She said the pair particularly enjoyed the Armchair Travel events at Whiddon, where residents watch documentaries about faraway places.

"We really love that," she said.

"We also watch movies, go on outings or just have a natter."