Centenarian’s life a ‘wonderful time’

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A card from the Queen is among the ‘‘happy birthday’’ wishes sent to Timaru centenarian Rosa Wreford last week.
Mrs Wreford celebrated her 100th birthday among family and friends on July 30.
Born in Auckland, Mrs Wreford, nee Earwaker, moved to Timaru with her parents and siblings when she was about 5 years old and has remained in South Canterbury ever since.
She attended Timaru West School and Timaru Girls’ High School before embarking on her first job as a governess at Benmore Station.
‘‘I loved it there. I loved so many places, but Benmore was so exciting. Benmore was the gateway to the West Coast,’’ she said.
Mrs Wreford, an avid equestrian, often travelled around the district on her horse, called Peter, including on trips between Benmore Station and Timaru. Her son Don recalled one of the stories she shared with him while growing up, about a terrifying near miss on what used to be a combined road and rail bridge across the Rakaia River.
Mrs Wreford, who was riding Peter at the time, was permitted on to the bridge by the crossingkeeper.
‘‘Mum was only about 200m across the bridge and then there was a train coming. Luckily she was able to turn around and gallop off,’’ Don said.
Don also recalled stories of her travelling on horseback to visit the Moses family at Cave.
‘‘They were like a second family to her,’’ he said.
It was at a dance in Cave that Mrs Wreford met her late husband, Norman, who she farmed with at Ma Waro, following a stint at Timaru’s radio centre. The couple had four children, Don, David, Anne and Helen.
They later moved from the Ma Waro farm, between Cave and Albury, to a smaller farm at Hadlow, near Timaru, and then to Pages Rd. It was during those years at Pages Rd that Mr and Mrs Wreford dedicated their time to Timaru’s Riding for the Disabled.
Mrs Wreford, who learned to water ski in her 60s, later moved to Mountain View Village, before taking up residence at Glenwood Home.
‘‘I’ve had a wonderful time, when I look back,’’ she said.