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Happy birthday Irene!

16 Sep 2013

Happy birthday Irene! Image

Freshwater Place’s first resident, Irene Ward, celebrated her 80th birthday in September. Thanks to her granddaughter Angela, ‘Southbank Local News’ paid a surprise visit to the party.

“That girl will be the death of me!” Irene exclaimed after it was explained why we had come along.

Letting Irene compose herself, Southbank Local News came back to visit later that week to have a chat about the milestone and, in particular, the last eight years, which she has spent at Freshwater Place.

Irene explained that she and her husband Maurice were the first residents to call Freshwater Place home, despite some resistance from the rest of the Ward family.

“The kids thought we’d gone mad when we said we were moving into the city,” Irene explained.

“We met all the new tenants as they arrived, and Maurice got to know the builders who were finishing the tower and they showed him the ins and outs of the building.”

Sadly, Maurice passed away last year, but Irene said she never really thought about leaving her home.

“After Maurice passed away I think my kids were a bit worried about me living here alone,” she explained.

“A couple of months ago I sprained my ankle and was struggling to walk up and down the stairs. My neighbours were so helpful, with groceries and just generally helping out, that’s when my kids knew I was going to be fine here.”

Irene said retiring to the city had been a great decision, making things as simple as a walk along the promenade, an interesting daily occurrence.

“If I was still in Forest Hill I wouldn’t go for a walk around the block. Once you’ve seen all the gardens, it’s too boring.”

She also put to bed the perception that living in a high-rise building can lead to a lonely existence, saying: “It’s more of a neighbourhood here than where we came from.”

“You can have it either way. You can have it private if you like, or you can be social. Personally, I always prefer being social!” Irene added.

Southbank Local News wishes Irene a very happy 80th birthday and all the best for the years ahead.

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