September 19, 2018

300 years old and still inspiring

Jack Potts, Jean Roberts and Ken Harris celebrate their milestone birthday at John Paul Village. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

They may be a little frail and say they are more than a little forgetful, but what Ken Harris, Jean Roberts and Jack Potts lack in energy, they more than make up for in wisdom.

Having lived through wars, moon landings and even nine Popes, the trio celebrated their 100th birthdays last week in front of family, friends and staff of John Paul Village in Heathcote where they reside.

All agree happiness is the secret to their longevity … with some good luck and genes thrown in.

Each recalled their wedding day as their happiest memory and their families as their best achievement.

Tears and champagne flowed, as the milestone reached by the three most “experienced” residents of the village was celebrated and recalled in front of about 100 guests.

Auxiliary Bishop Umbers addresses residents at the village. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Richard Umbers was on hand to bless the party as well as present the centenarians with a special certificate from Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP on reaching triple digits.

“The Archbishop has asked me to present this to you all, in recognition of this tremendous achievement,” Bishop Umbers said.

“Pope Francis often talks of the wisdom that comes with someone who has considerable life experience, and we have three of you here today, who have so much knowledge and wisdom to impart.

“I encourage people to take the time to listen to those older than them and their wise words as they have so much knowledge.”

It’s often said some of the best advice comes from those who have simply lived longer.

Ken Harris at his 100th birthday celebration. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

They have had more time to make mistakes and learn from them, which the three 100-year-olds agree with.

Jean Roberts, the baby of the group – she’s two months younger than the other two – said her life had been filled with much joy and her family provided her the happiest memories.

A self-confessed Home and Away fan, she said she enjoys a pretty simple life these days, and agrees with the old adage everything in moderation. “I take it easy but I do try to keep active,” she said.

“I played bowls and drove a car up until about five years ago, I have always kept myself busy with sport and other things.

“Although now-a-days I’m a bit more relaxed. I don’t have to rush around anymore, I do things at my own pace.

“Everybody asked me what I wanted for a present for turning 100 and I keep telling them nothing.

Bishop Umbers shares a joke with Jean Roberts. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

“I have everything I need, there’s nothing I want except to keep living the way I am, happy and content.”

Jack, who still lives with wife Mary, 96, at the village said good luck, eating lightly and moderate exercise was his secret to reaching 100. “This is tremendous, it’s so lovely seeing everyone out and celebrating with us,” he beamed.

“Keeping moving is what it’s all about, I still play bowls each week to just keep active.

“I don’t clean the gutters or do the lawns anymore but I still do my fair share. “Mary always has a little job for me to do before I sit down in the afternoon.”

Ken agreed with his fellow centenarians citing moderation and hard work the key to his long life.

“Always work hard and be the best you can be,” he said.

“Just enjoy life and have fun is the best advice I can give.”

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