Royal treatment for newest centenarian

David SalvaireSound Telegraph
Georgina Gardener with her mother Kathleen Payne who recently celebrated her 100th birthday with a letter from the Queen.
Camera IconGeorgina Gardener with her mother Kathleen Payne who recently celebrated her 100th birthday with a letter from the Queen. Credit: David Salvaire

One of Rockingham’s latest centenarians, Kathleen Payne, celebrated the ultimate birthday milestone this month as she looked back with family and friends on 100 years of life.

Born in Toodyay on February 11, 1917, Mrs Payne has lived through two world wars, seen the invention of human flight, and has seen her family tree grow extensively.

Mrs Payne now has two daughters, six grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

She has called Rockingham home for nearly a decade after spending most of her life as a farmer’s wife in Perenjori, where she built strong connections with the local community.

Friends and family from all over the world made the journey to help her celebrate ticking over to three digits — a milestone which earned her a special letter from Queen Elizabeth II.

“The (letter) she was really looking forward to,” Kathleen’s daughter Georgina Gardener said.

“She’s been through the good and the bad and she’s still go-ing strong, so to be able to put on a party for her is absolutely wonderful. “Everyone chipped in to make it a beautiful day and we were especially thank-ful to her friend Michelle for getting an amazing cake together.”

While she was excited to receive her royal letter, Mrs Payne got another royal surprise of sorts, with a close friend of hers dressing up as the Queen for the party to entertain the crowd of about 70 people. Mrs Payne said she was lucky to have made it past 100 and was the first in her family to hit the milest-one.

“I wouldn’t be able to tell you the reason why I’ve made it to 100 but it could have something to do with the fact I don’t drink heavily or smoke,” she said.

“It hasn’t happened in the family before, so it’s come as a bit of a surprise.”

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